DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The City Health Office (CHO) has confirmed that the diarrhea outbreak since July 15 is due to contaminated foods consumed by the victims.
“The diarrhea outbreak was due to a foodborne microorganism, with Vibrio cholera as the pathogen of concern. The most likely vehicle of transmission is contaminated food,” said CHO head Dr. Ashley Lopez during the release of its official findings Friday.
The comprehensive investigation review of the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health revealed the cause as food-borne. Sixty percent of the victims turned out positive in the bacteriological culture testing during the rectal swabbing that was submitted to the Southern Philippines Medical Center.
Upon their investigation, Lopez said they found that food consumed by the victims may have been contaminated during preparation and handling by an infected handler/s. Other causes that contributed to the contamination are improper storage, delayed serving, and unsanitary environment.
The victims, according to Lopez, consumed Tapioca, isaw (grilled chicken intestines), kwek-kwek (deep fried hard-boiled egg covered in orange batter), and juice from Rasay St. and the Toril Public Market.
“More than 50% of these individuals experienced vomiting with about 35% experiencing abdominal pain. It was also found that 41% of the affected cases had episodes of eating and drinking in Rasay, while 21% of the cases ate and drank at the Toril Public Market,” he said.
CHO reported that 163 or 71% of the patients recorded since day one of the outbreak have already recovered. The remaining 11 patients or five percent of the total affected patients are still confined at different hospitals while 26 others are treated at the Outpatient Department of various hospitals.
The outbreak resulted in six deaths while 217 were hospitalized, including children, the CHO reported.
The latest addition to the number of deaths, according to Lopez, is a 27-year-old patient who died due to cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to severe dehydration. The victim experienced symptoms starting July 15 but did not seek medical treatment. He was later brought to the hospital after he fainted but eventually died three hours later.
Meanwhile, Lopez announced that water supply from the Davao City Water District is safe for consumers as it is found negative for any bacteria during its testing of samples before and after water meters in all affected areas of the outbreak.
“However, these samples are seen as isolated cases with frequent cases having pipelines submerged in dirty water or, worse, in canals. We also submitted water samples to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and it was found (out) that (there’s) no abnormal growth in the bacteriology test of the samples submitted,” Lopez said.
Lopez also confirmed that the two ice plants which were using an open well for ice-making were tested positive for E. Coli and Coliform. The said plants have been ordered closed for violating the Sanitation Code while vendors were urged to use their ice for food preparation.
Lopez also clarified that only those who had diarrhea or had experienced three or more episodes within 24 hours after consuming food from Rasay and Toril Public Market from July 12 to 18 were considered victims of the outbreak. (davaotoday.com)