April 13, 2024

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Residents of Benguet are advised to ensure that the food they eat and the water they drink are safe and clean, as cases of acute gastroenteritis continue to rise.

Governor Melchor Diclas said the Provincial Health Office has recorded more than 200 cases of acute gastroenteritis mostly in La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay. These municipalities are adjacent to Baguio City where an acute gastroenteritis outbreak was declared last week.  

“Residents in the province of Benguet, especially the municipalities near Baguio City, are advised to take necessary precautionary measures to avoid spread of acute gastroenteritis,” he said in an interview.

Diclas, a physician by profession, stressed that the public should be careful with the food and water they take in since gastroenteritis is usually caused by bacteria or virus from contaminated food or water.

Signs and symptoms include loose bowel movement, fever, vomiting, body malaise (feeling weakness), nausea, abdominal pain, headache, and dehydration.

The PHO through the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit has also established an online reporting system where the public can report incidents of acute gastroenteritis. This is done using a QR Code posted at the Benguet Provincial Health Office facebook page or through the link: https://docs.google.com/…/ 1FAIpQLSe7ivyUnquW9s… /viewform.

Provincial Health Officer Meliarazon Dulay clarified only those individuals experiencing signs and symptoms of acute gastroenteritis who have not yet visited health facilities shall fill up the online monitoring and reporting system to avoid duplication of cases. 

To reduce the risk of getting sick with gastroenteritis, Diclas shared some precautionary measures:

Make sure that the water is not contaminated. Use bottled water or boiled water for drinking. Water from the faucet or tap water should be boiled. Boiling is the surest method to kill disease-causing germs, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

When eating out, it is recommended to bring your own drinking water. Food should be properly cleaned and cooked before being served and eaten.

Maintain proper hygiene. Practice frequent hand-washing, and promptly disinfect contaminated surfaces. 

The governor also cautioned the public about adding ice in food and beverage that are served in establishments. Ice should be made from clean water, he said. – Redjie M. Cawis