The Davao City Health Office (CHO) is continuing with its investigation of the diarrhea outbreak that hit the Toril district officially declared last Sunday, July 17, 2022.
Davao City Acting City Health Officer Dr. Ashley Lopez, in an interview Wednesday morning, said that as part of the mitigation measures pending laboratory results, the Environment and Sanitation Division enforced the closure of food stalls in Toril.
“Pending results of laboratory tests, the City Government has suspended the operations of food stalls in Toril District until further notice,” Lopez said, adding that the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) will address the needs of the vendors during the temporary closure of their business.
Vendors are also scheduled to undergo fecalysis starting July 20, 2022 and shall undergo Food Handlers’ Seminar on July 21 at the Toril Proper Gym.
Lopez said that these measures are taken while the city government has yet to find out the cause of diarrhea. The CHO is also now waiting for laboratory results of water analysis, as well as findings from the testing and analysis of street food/drink samples from food stalls, and specimens from patients from the SPMC laboratory.
CHO declared a diarrhea outbreak in Toril last Sunday, July 17. As of 8 pm on July 19, a total of 147 diarrhea cases had been reported. This is higher compared to the 61 cases recorded as of July 18.
One death, that of a 10-year-old male patient from Toril, last July 19 due to severe dehydration was also confirmed. The patient was admitted to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) last July 16.
Lopez said that the male patient was placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and had complications. It was also revealed that hours before the child manifested symptoms, he consumed isaw (chicken intestine) a kind of street food from the food stall, and drank water from a Davao City Water District (DCWD) water line.
He also said that while some patients claimed that they ate from the food stalls, some patients who contracted diarrhea did not eat food from the food stalls.
As to the breakdown of patients, 64 are hospitalized, 49 are outpatient, and 34 are for verification. The age range is 3 months to 69 years old. The hospitalized patients are confined at the Davao Mediquest Hospital Inc., St. John Hospital, Malta Medical Hospital, Viacrusis Medical Hospital, Ernesto Guadalupe Medical Hospital, and SPMC.
There are also additional patients from the barangays of Alambre, Bangkas Heights, Daliaon Plantation, Eden, Sirawan, Marapangi, and Baliok. These barangays add to the initially affected barangays of Baracatan, Bago Aplaya, Camansi, Lubogan, Toril Poblacion, Daliao, Bato, Lizada, Mulig, Tungkalan, Binugao, and Crossing Bayabas.
Lopez said that the City Government has committed to providing assistance to the family of the deceased as well as other affected patients.
“CHO continues to monitor the situation and assure that the medical needs of the patients are addressed accordingly,” Lopez said.
Lopez said that the Incident Command Center (ICC) within the Toril B RHU, situated in front of Magsaysay Elementary School, is open 24/7 to cater to the needs of residents experiencing symptoms of diarrhea and other related concerns. It can be reached at 09567565571.
While the authorities await the results of the tests, Lopez also said that City Government reminds everyone to continue to:
1. Avoid drinking or using tap water for food preparation without boiling it up to 100 degrees. They are also advised to let it sit for 10 more minutes from the boiling point to make sure that the water is sterilized.
2. Use purified or bottled water for consumption, if possible.
3. Frequently wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.