Deworming drug, Albendazole, blamed for illnesses of 1k kids in the Philippines - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) kicked off their program,“Oplan Goodbye Bulate”, yesterday in a effort to deworm 16 million public elementary school students twice a year. The campaign is designed to treat the schoolkids of soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), or infections from intestinal worms.

Ascaris lumbricoides/CDC

Ascaris lumbricoides/CDC

However, the campaign hit a snag early on as local media report some 1,000 children in Dipolog City, in Zamboanga del Norte province were rushed to hospitals for vomiting, stomach ache, and dizziness. Some are pointing fingers at expired “deworming’ drug, Albendazole.

The side effects the effected students experienced, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, headache and dizziness, are known side effects of this medication.

The DOH said in a statement on Wednesday night that a total of 1,225 students consulted with health authorities following the deworming activity, while 86 were confined for further treatment.

The DOH says the drugs, the candy-flavored, chewable deworming tablets, were not expired. Health Secretary Janette Garin said, “We have already checked all our sources and determined their are no expired drugs.” She went on to say that the FDA tested the drugs prior to distribution.

Garin also warned against sending out text messages that can “cause panic”.

However, Philippines media source, Rappler, was shown a package of the tablets which were indeed nearly 3 years expired.

Albendazole/U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt

Albendazole/U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt

The side effects the effected students experienced, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, headache and dizziness, are known side effects of this medication.

The deworming activities in the Philippines have shown good results in recent years. According to partial results of the National Parasite Survey conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in 2013, the prevalence rate of STH infections among children 6 to 14 years old recorded two years ago was 12 to 38 percent compared with 65 percent in 2003.

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3 Comments

  1. […] The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) kicked off their program,“Oplan Goodbye Bulate”, yesterday in a effort to deworm 16 million public elementary school students twice a year. The campaign is designed to treat the schoolkids of soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), or infections from intestinal worms. However, the campaign hit a snag early on as local media report some […] Outbreak News Today » Asia […]

  2. […] a follow-up to the outbreak of ill schoolkids in in Zamboanga del Norte province who took the deworming medication, Albendazole, Philippines […]

  3. […] other areas in region 9 were hesitant to let their children take the state-prescribed albendazole after false information spread regarding the integrity of the drug. To correct the misinformation, the DOH embarked on an intense information dissemination campaign, […]

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