February 23, 2024

The city government of Baguio will implement a more stringent inspection of bulk water providers, following the diarrhea outbreak that was traced to contaminated water sources.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city will be stricter in inspecting private water delivery services and implement stringent measures to ensure that these businesses comply with sanitation standards.

The mayor said this is one of the courses of action to be taken by the city after investigations showed that the diarrhea outbreak was traced to the contaminated source of private water delivery providers.

“We will be stricter in inspecting them and make sure that their trucks are really clean. We will also now be the ones to take water samples for testing, instead of them bringing their samples because we have found that some providers get their samples from other sources,” he said.

The diarrhea outbreak in the city was declared over on Jan. 18 following the decline in the number of cases.

Magalong said it was safe to declare that the outbreak was over after the epidemiologic investigation determined the cause of the diarrhea and how it spread.

“We are now in the endemic phase where the cases of diarrhea are back to normal rate,” he said during a press conference.

Health officials pointed to the contaminated source of private water delivery service providers as the source of the pathogens that affected those who suffered diarrhea that resulted in the outbreak.

City Health Services Officer Celia Flor Brillantes said they share the findings of the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health that the cause of the outbreak is the contaminated water delivered by bulk water providers.

Out of the 12 samples that tested positive for total coliform, it was revealed that seven were positive for E. coli, indicating fecal contamination.

Brillantes added there was a sample that tested positive for norovirus, a disease usually associated with the winter that causes diarrhea and vomiting.

She added they were also not ruling out the possibility of other pathogens in the water samples that tested positive for E. coli since bacterial culture was being done.

An outbreak of diarrhea was earlier declared in Baguio after cases were noted to have reached an abnormal level.

Brillantes said the increase in cases was recorded from Dec. 20, 2023 to Jan. 13 with the peak of cases recorded on Jan. 8 at 520. Cases declined to only 13 on Jan. 15. – Jane B. Cadalig