LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 20 (PNA) -— Health authorities, who made followup investigations of the lone post-typhoon Nina fatality, had confirmed that the 36-year-old farmer of Barangay Sto. Nino in Virac, Catanduanes died of severe dehydration due to diarrhea, and not cholera as earlier reported in the media.
France Genorga, food and water-borne diseases program coordinator of the Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol, said they conducted a revalidation following persistent reports in the local and national media that the farmer died of cholera and that this disease was fast spreading out in the typhoon-hit villages of Catanduanes where Nina made its first landfall on Christmas Day.
Catanduanes Health Officer Dr. Hazel Palmes confirmed that the dead, whose name was withheld, had been diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis with severe dehydration.
She said a fecal sample of the victim showed he was infected by “Entamoeba Hystolica,” a kind of bacteria, after reportedly drinking water from Inagasan Falls, a few meters away from Barangay Sto. Nino in Virac town.
Quoting reports from a DOH-Bicol inspection team, Palmes said some 12 samples collected from the different water sources at the Virac District Jail and in two villages with diarrhea cases had tested positive for fecal contamination.
Water samples collected from some faucets of the Virac Water District, a barangay waterworks system, and shallow and deep wells were found with fecal coliforms above safe levels.
Meanwhile, Engineer Connie Ramirez, DOH-Bicol in-charge of refilling station inspection, said that the two refilling outlets found positive with e-coli, already turned negative of the bacteria in recent tests.
She said they subjected the water samples from these refilling stations to at least three tests that all turned negative already from the ecoli contamination.
“When water samples from these refilling stations turned positive from ecoli, their pipelines were still busted by Typhoon Nina. But in the succeeding three tests after the lines were already repaired, the samples were found negative already of e-coli contamination,” Ramirez said.
Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua had earlier asked Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial to help them set up sources of safe and potable water in the typhoon-affected communities to prevent a possible diarrhea outbreak.
He asked for mobile filtration machines that could produce some 5,000 liters of potable water daily.
Diarrhea cases were reported to have hit Catanduanes as early as November last year. (PNA) LAP/GVR/SMT/CBD