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3 dead in a diarrhea outbreak as officials search for answers

By Rhoda Grace B. Saron and Emmanuel Virgil Albelda/UM Intern – THE DIARRHEA outbreak in Laak, Davao de Oro killed three and hospitalized 22 others, according to a Municipal health officer.

Meanwhile, the Barangay Naga on Monday declared a State of Emergency to activate funds to deal with the diarrhea outbreak. 

Photo courtesy Local government of Laak

In a phone interview on Monday, Municipal Health officer Doctor Julius Remollo said that at around 7:45 p.m., 25 individuals were admitted on Saturday at the Laak hospital. Unfortunately, three of them did not make it due to severe dehydration.

Remollo identified them as Teodoro Superales, 66; Roland Cordova, 32; both died on Sunday and Marta Onggao, 66, died on Saturday.

He said they have still to get data on how many individuals went to Kapalong and Tagum City hospitals. 

Accordingly, he said residents in the area experienced diarrhea due to consecutive rains which contaminated their water source. Remollo said the patients experienced Amoebiasis and heterophydiasis based on the samples taken from their feces.

“There are houses in the area where their comfort rooms are less than a 25-meter distance from the water source,” he added.

The municipal health officer said a total of 150 families were affected from Purok 3 and Purok 4, which have a total of 370 residents.

Moreover, he said they are still waiting for the result of the bacterial analysis of the water. The health official does not discount the contamination of the water source by the chemicals from the nearby banana plantation.

“We have heard and there are rumors that the water recently smelled bad,” he added.

For now, the mayor’s office has provided 2,000 liters water tank attached with water flourinator, which was supplied by Sumifru.

Meanwhile, Barangay Naga on Monday declared a State of Emergency regarding the diarrhea outbreak so that the barangay can use its funds for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.

The emergency meeting held on Monday was attended by barangay officials led by village chief Asito G. Custodio, barangay functionaries and purok leaders, as well personnel from the Provincial Health Office, Municipal Health Office, Municipal Administrator, Municipal Engineer, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Philippine Red Cross.

Water sampling

Presented by Sholyn Rose Asedilla, disease surveillance officer of the Provincial Department of Health Office in Davao de Oro, cited the possible causes of the diarrhea outbreak that occurred in the area.

One of these is the possible contamination of drinking water by the affected residents due to the lack of clean toilets in some households.

They already conducted water sampling to determine the exact cause, and the result is expected to be released within two weeks. Chemical sampling will also be conducted at the water source to determine if there are any chemicals mixed in the water.

Meanwhile, Engr. Gedeon Dumayas with Municipal Administrator Engr. Bam Libuangan and Mun. Engr. Florentino N. Baga Jr. agreed to conduct a thorough cleaning and decontamination of the reservoirs where the residents drew their water. 



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