12/09/10 - CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas has declared a typhoid fever outbreak in Alegria town, 115.8 kilometers southwest of this city, after over 200 cases have been reported in the area.
Dr. Susana Madarieta DOH Region 7 director, said on Wednesday that they have declared an outbreak because of the unusual number of cases of probable typhoid fever based on initial laboratory tests.
However, Madarieta said they have still to conduct more tests to confirm that the patients were afflicted with typhoid fever.
Dr. Cristina Giango, chief of the Integrated Provincial Health Office in Cebu province, said there were 221 cases of probable typhoid fever in Alegria, 36 of them confined in the district hospital of the nearby Malabuyoc town. The rest were outpatients who sought treatment at the Alegria rural health unit.
Giangco admitted that the situation was alarming but she disclosed that they have undertaken measures to contain the spread of the disease with the support of the DOH-7.
The medical team from IPHO and DOH-7 went to Alegria town Wednesday, bringing several medical supplies, including treatment for fever and antibiotic, according to Giango.
The affected patients came from the villages of Sta. Felomina and Poblacion, according to Alegria Mayor Emelita Guisadio.
According to the DOH website (http://www.doh.gov.ph/), typhoid fever is caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria and could be transmitted through the ingestion of food and water contaminated with human waste.
Giango said the patients had high fever, stomach pains and headache, symptoms for typhoid fever.
She said the cause could be water or food contamination, so they urged the residents to ensure that their drinking water and food were safe.
Mayor Guisadio said the health officials were still checking the cause of the disease and have taken water samples to check for any water contamination.
Jesus Cavalida, Alegria municipal planning coordinator, said a team from the municipal engineering department has been checking the reservoirs and pipelines for any leakage.
Cavalida said the afflicted persons started going to the barangay health centers on Saturday last week after a heavy downpour the previous evening.
Meanwhile, the municipal council has declared the two villages and the nearby Barangay (village) Legazpi, under the state of calamity. Legazpi was included since the municipal council was anticipating that the residents there would be affected by the outbreak.
Alegria is a 4th class municipality with around nine barangays and a population of over 20,000. (Inquirer)