Typhoid in San Jose. Cholera in Baganga and Manila. - Outbreaks!!!



The environment showed its fury by the series of disease outbreaks that happened in 1996. Because of the abuses people are inflicting in the environment, diseases like typhoid fever and cholera appeared in our midst leaving thousands sick and quite a number of people dead.

Typhoid Fever in San Jose

On January 18, the first case of typhoid fever was consulted in San Jose, Batangas. Since then, the numbers grew reaching to more than 4,000 people treated at local hospitals with signs and symptoms similar to typhoid fever. Of these, 682 patients were found positive to salmonella typhi. No deaths were reported.

The Department of Health rushed to the area to monitor the outbreak and provide medical assistance.

The explosive number of cases in a short span of time is characteristic of a common source outbreak. Typhoid fever is transmitted by contaminated food or water. Several barangays in San Jose were affected by this outbreak. No common food item or source could be found. This left the DOH to suspect contamination came from the local waterworks.

Water samples were taken from various points (sources and outlets) and were found positive for fecal coliforms.

It later turned out that the San Jose local waterworks system was built some forty years ago and only irregular chlorination was being done. Moreover, its springs were kept unprotected from bacteria and germs.

Cholera in Baganga…

In the last week of May, another outbreak occurred. Incidence of cholera and diarrheal diseases zoomed in Baganga, Davao Oriental. Of the total 484 reported cases, 27 persons died.

Most of the cases came from Barangays Dapnan and Lambajon. Twenty-two percent (22%) of the cases were children aged two to five years old.

At the height of the outbreak, the DOH dispatched medical teams from the Central Office to attend the rising cases in Baganga.

The teams were composed of doctors, nurses and environmental sanitation engineers. An ambulance was also dispensed to help transport cholera suspected patients from far-flung barangays.

Five water sources in Baganga were tested and found to be contaminated. The lack of toilet facilities and garbage disposal system added more harm.

The DOH advised the Baganga residents to practice personal hygiene and environmental sanitation.

The last cholera outbreaks in this town were recorded in 1937 and 1961.

…also in Manila…

The start of the “ber” months was not without problems over the Department of Health because on the first day of September, hundreds were rushed to the Ospital ng Maynila, Philippine General Hospital and San Lazaro Hospital. Cholera downed many residents, mostly children, of the fifth district of Manila, particularly Paco and San Andres.

From 1 to 10 September, the DOH monitored at least 310 patients with five children living in endemic sites have died and two others were reported isolated cases.

The culprit of this cholera outbreak was water contamination. Tests showed that the drinking water have been contaminated with fecal organisms. Busted pipes and leaking illegal connections have served as opening for the deadly organisms to seep into homes.

The source of the cholera outbreak was traced to an illegal water cistern close to an abandoned public toilet in Singalong which residents still used.

Health Secretary Carmencita Noriega-Reodica said prompt actions undertaken by the concerned agencies and city officials limited the outbreak to the two areas.

On the other hand, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System has completed the repair of the leaking pipes in contaminated areas.

…and in NCMH

“Troubled minds, troubled bodies”.

This was the situation of some patients of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) during the last week of September when they were struck by cholera.

The latest count revealed the deaths of seven chronically ill male patients of Pavillion 11 due to cholera. At least 115 patients were reported to have complained diarrhea.

NCMH officials blamed the illegal connections at the water source near Pavillion 11 which is beside a squatter colony.

However, Sec. Carmencita N. Reodica said that person-to-person transmission was the cause of the outbreak. She said that there could have been more victims if the cholera outbreak was water-borne.

Reodica then ordered NCMH personnel to improve their system of monitoring patients to prevent similar cases in the future.