Village braces for diarrhea, typhoid outbreaks

02/06/2011 - OFFICIALS of a barangay in Balamban town are bracing for a possible outbreak of diarrhea and typhoid fever.

Health officials announced last Friday that at least 16 residents of the barangay were showing symptoms of the ailments, after drinking water from open springs in the community.

Primo Paulin, barangay chief of Arpili, Balamban, said yesterday the local officials are readying themselves for a possible increase in cases and are prepared to tap their calamity fund of P120,000 to help ailing residents.

Balamban is the fourth town in Cebu Province to have been hit by water-borne disease since the last quarter of 2010, and is the first town to report such cases this year.

Paulin said they have to coordinate with the Balamban Municipal Council if declaring a state of calamity in the barangay would be necessary.

They are also waiting for approval of their budget for the construction of spring boxes for the four springs in Sitio Cabal-asan, located in a hilly area of the barangay.

About 30 to 40 households in Sitio Cabal-asan use the four springs for household needs. Majority of the patients admitted for diarrhea in the Balamban District Hospital came from Cabal-asan and relied on the spring for drinking water.

Paulin said the four springs, which have been in the community for more than 50 years, were supposed to be covered to prevent contamination.

There are times when frogs and other critters live in or around the springs, he said.

The barangay council has ordered the residents near the springs’ vicinity to cover these, but they didn’t want to, reportedly saying it is more difficult to clean a covered spring.

It was only when diarrhea cases increased in the area that Paulin had to consider putting up spring boxes for the residents’ use.

For now, the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (Resu) 7 and the Provincial Health Office (PHO) are providing the affected residents with free medicines and vitamins.

Lab work

Also, the Resu 7 has collected samples from the four open springs in Sitio Cabal-asan to determine if the water is contaminated with fecal coliform. The results of water sampling will be revealed tomorrow.

During a meeting with Resu and PHO officials, residents in the area were advised to boil their water before they consume it.

Also, blood samples were collected from those confined for diarrhea in the Balamban District Hospital.

Meanwhile, an aunt of a 24-year-old man who died last year confirmed that her nephew died of typhoid fever.

Maribel Alcontin, 49, said yesterday that Paul Rosal, 24, who died last year after suffering from fever and diarrhea, had lived in Sitio Cabal-asan for a year.

In September last year, Rosal complained of fever and diarrhea, but kept reporting for work.

“Bisag gihilantan to siya, sige ra man to siya ug trabaho. Maligo man gani to siya bisag gitakigan na siya (He kept working even when he was feverish. He didn’t let chills stop him from bathing),” said Alcontin.

It was only on Oct. 7 when Rosal finally asked his aunt to bring him to the local hospital.

Rosal was brought to the Balamban District Hospital, but was later transferred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City. He did not survive.

Alcontin said that a doctor from VSMMC had told them Rosal was suffering from typhoid fever. (Sun Star)

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