May 24, 2024

The Department of Health-Cordillera is calling on the public to observe sanitary food preparation practices as outbreaks in food and water-borne diseases were recorded in the past months.

Among the diseases, health experts have raised the alarm on cholera, a diarrheal illness considered to have been wiped out years back when no cases were recorded.

From Jan. 1 to Oct. 15, the DOH recorded one confirmed cholera case each in Baguio and Mountain Province and one suspect case in Apayao.

DOH-Cordillera Infectious Disease Cluster Head Jennifer Joyce Pira said having three cases is alarming, especially since the agency considered cholera to have been eliminated after no more cases were reported since 2013.

Pira did not discount the possibility there may be more cases, but are not reported to the healthcare facilities.

She reiterated the importance of basic hygiene like regular hand washing and sanitary food preparation as well as ensuring environmental cleanliness as the best preventive measure against the disease that is caused by consumption of food and water contaminated with cholera bacteria.

Aside from the cholera outbreak, the DOH advised the public to take precaution against acute bloody diarrhea; hand, foot, and mouth; and typhoid fever, as cases have gone up since January to Oct. 1.

The region logged 730 cases of acute bloody diarrhea, which is 51 percent higher than the 485 cases recorded in the same period last year.

Cases of hand, foot, and mouth diseases saw an eight-fold increase with 611 recorded this year compared with the seven cases reported in the same period last year.

There were 2,478 cases of typhoid fever since January, representing a 129 percent increase from the 1,080 cases logged in the same period last year.

DOH-Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit Head Karen Lonogan said clustering of the water and food-borne diseases was reported in three provinces and Baguio City.

In Abra, the clustering was reported in different barangays with 10 cases, including one death while Ifugao reported the case of 41 students who got sick after eating street food.

The clustering of water and food-borne diseases in Baguio, which had 77 cases and Kalinga, which logged 14 cases; were all traced to a social gathering.

Health officials reiterated the importance of observing basic hygiene, sanitary food preparation, and ensuring environmental cleanliness to prevent being infected.

Lonogan said local government units should recalibrate their contingency plans in anticipation of the holiday season, taking into consideration the Covid-19 pandemic, food and water safety, and the sudden changes in weather. – Jane B. Cadalig