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DOH-MIMAROPA monitoring decline in diarrhea cases in Palawan

The Department of Health (DOH) in MIMAROPA has ordered the delivery of requested medicines and other medical supplies to the southern Palawan town of Quezon in a bid to prevent the further increase of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) or diarrhea in several barangays.

“Although the cases are now declining, we are still continuing disease surveillance, and directly in coordination with the local and provincial health offices in case diarrhea cases in the affected barangays will again rise,” DOH MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Eduardo Janairo said in a statement Sunday.

The regional health official advised residents to seek medical check-up once they experience abdominal pain, dehydration, and having watery stool for them to be given immediate medical responses.

As of Sept. 18, the Quezon Rural Health Unit (RHU) reported a total of 644 AGE cases. Of this figure, 358 cases were admitted at the Quezon Medicare Hospital (QMH); 233 cases at the Quezon Municipal Health Office (MHO); and 53 cases at Luke Society Clinic.

He disclosed that based on amalgamated data from the Quezon RHU and Palawan Provincial Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (PESU) from July 4 to Sept. 18, the most affected barangays are Alfonso XIII and Pinaglabanan.

The diarrhea cases are 79 percent higher compared to the historical average recorded for the last four years, which is an average of 359 cases from 2013 to 2016.

Half of the diarrhea cases reported were from 18 years old and below, affecting mostly 1-10 years old. Majority of the cases recorded were female.

According to the result of the water source assessment conducted in the municipality of Quezon by the Palawan Epidemiology, Surveillance and Statistics Unit (PESSU) from Sept.19 to 20, most of the water sources, systems and refilling stations do not comply with the necessary health and sanitation requirements.

Escherichia coli or E. coli and amoeba are also present in some of the water source.

Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery stools. It can be acute which lasts for 2-3 days or chronic which is the result of a viral or bacterial infection and can last for weeks.

“Proper hygiene is the best prevention against diarrhea. Clean drinking water is also important. Frequent hand washing with soap and water prevents the spread of infection. Use hand sanitizer if possible,” Janairo said.

Celeste Anna Formoso / PNA