3 dead as diarrhea outbreak continues in Davao’s Toril District

Jul. 24, 2022

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The diarrhea outbreak in this city’s Toril District already claimed the lives of three persons, first a minor, then a senior citizen, and recently a teacher.

The City Health Office (CHO) said a 32-year-old male teacher died of dehydration Thursday, July 21, at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).

The said patient sought first medical care on July 16 at a private hospital in Talomo District due to a diarrhea complaint. After four days, his condition worsened prompting the hospital to send him to SPMC for critical care where he eventually expired.

The teacher was a permanent resident of Lingig, Surigao del Sur. He worked as a teacher in this city and temporarily resided in Lubogan, Toril.

On July 19, a 67-year-old female patient admitted at Viacrusis Hospital in Toril was reported dead due to severe dehydration.

The same day, a 10-year-old boy died, also from severe dehydration. He was admitted at the SPMC on July 16, a day after the outbreak began. He was the first reported casualty.

“The patient manifested with ascites and there was no urine output which clearly an indication of an acute renal failure,” Dr. Ashley Lopez, CHO head, said

Out of the 7 patients admitted at the SPMC, four have been discharged, two had expired, and one still admitted at the hospital’s ICU.

As of Friday, the CHO has logged 233 cases since the outbreak began on July 15.

Lopez said a number of victims reportedly ate isaw (grilled chicken entrails) and tapioca drinks sold at the night market in Toril, along Rasay Street. Others also drank water from a Davao City Water District (DCWD) water line.

The victims come from the 21 villages in Toril and Talomo districts. These are the villages of Alambre, Bangkas Heights, Baracatan, Bato, Binugao, Camansi, Catigan, Crossing Bayabas, Daliao, Daliaon Plantation, Eden, Lizada, Lubogan, Marapangi, Mulig, Sirawan, Toril Proper, and Tungkalan in Toril; and the villages of Bago Aplaya, Baliok, and Dumoy in Talomo.

Awaiting results

Lopez said his office is monitoring the situation while waiting for the test results from the SPMC which collected the water and food samples as well as the patient’s rectal swabs. He has also ordered the temporary suspension of food stalls at the night market.

Starting July 20, food vendors have been subjected to Fecalysis (tests done on stool samples). They were also required to attend the Food Handlers’ Seminar on July 21 at Toril Proper Gym.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office will address the needs of the vendors during the temporary closure of their business.

The CHO had suspected the recent flooding in Davao City as one of the possible causes of the outbreak. Lopez said the flood water might have contaminated the water system, although some patients have manifested symptoms of diarrhea after eating street food and tapioca desserts.

“The primary consideration right now is water because of the situation. Rains caused some flooding recently, and it could possibly contaminate our water system,” Lopez said.

‘Not contaminated’

The DCWD has cleared, in a statement released July 18, that there was no contamination of bacteria causing waterborne diseases in the water supply from areas reported with diarrhea outbreak.

“The water samples taken from the 10 stations underwent the Colilert-18 test. All samples yielded negative results for the presence of Escherichia coli and total coliform with chlorine residuals of 0.3-1.5 ppm. The results mean that the water DCWD distributes to its customers is not contaminated with bacteria causing waterborne diseases such as diarrhea,” the statement said.

DCWD added they “found no major leaks in its distribution line along the affected areas when it conducted leak detection activities on top of the water sampling and testing.”

During the City Council regular session, Hydie Las Piňas, Division Manager for Water Quality of DCWD said they have conducted water sampling and submitted monthly results to the CHO and the Committee of Health of the City Council to ensure the public that the water supply is safe. To identify the cause, Las Piňas said they have conducted both joint water sampling with the CHO and an independent sampling.

“With this information we would like to assure the public that we at Davao City Water District will continue to monitor this concern and to continue to serve you with the best water in the last 49 year,” Las Piňas said.

However, during the council hearing, Las Piňas said on a monthly basis they only took samples of the water before it reaches the water meter during the testing process. In the case of the recent outbreak, water samples are not directly from the houses of the patient but only within the affected areas of the outbreak due to the absence of the actual address and names of the patients.

Councilor Bernie Al-ag suggested that the DCWD should also conduct water sampling both in their water supply and in ground wheel sources in the areas affected by the outbreak as there’s an urgent need to know the cause of contamination that led to the hospitalization of many residents. (davaotoday.com)

comments powered by Disqus