News and UpdatesIn the NewsEl Niño-related sickness warnings up

El Niño-related sickness warnings up


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Health authorities are gearing up for a possible rise in gastro-intestinal cases in Negros Oriental with the predicted onset of the El Niño phenomenon in the country early this year.

Dr. Liland Estacion, chief of the Provincial Health Office, said Tuesday she has directed municipal and city health officers to intensify their monitoring and information dissemination of water sources, especially in remote and hinterland barangays.

“During the El Niño, water supply usually becomes lacking in the mountain areas and people tend to look for other sources, such as tubod (natural springs),” Dr. Estacion said.

These water sources, however, could be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria like E. coli, particularly if situated near wading pools for carabaos, she warned.

Leaking or damaged water pipes could also cause water-borne diseases, and residents must regularly check their connections, the health official added.

She also called for the monitoring of water-refilling stations in the towns and cities to ensure that the water they are selling to the public is safe.

She noted that last year, some water refilling stations were observed to have allegedly distributed unsafe water, which resulted in several gastrointestinal cases.

Meanwhile, last year’s dengue cases in Negros Oriental were 38 percent fewer than the cases in 2022, a health official said on Wednesday.

Dr. Estacion said data from Jan. 1 to Dec. 23 showed that only 1,447 cases and five deaths were reported, compared to 2,277 cases and 11 deaths in the previous year.

“This is an encouraging development considering that it was supposed to be an epidemic year, which takes place every three years, but fortunately we were able to stem the spread of dengue infection,” she said.

The last epidemic was in 2019, during which Negros Oriental logged 6,844 cases with 23 deaths, the highest in 10 years.

The PHO is still collating data for its weekly reporting on dengue cases starting Dec. 24 last year, but Dr. Estacion said she believes the current figures will have minimal adjustment.

Records from the Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit showed that dengue cases ranged from five months to 85 years old, affecting mostly the age group of one to 10, at 43 percent of the total number.

Dumaguete, the Province’s capital, logged the highest number of cases with 220; followed by La Libertad, 164; Sibulan, 116; Bindoy, 97; Siaton, 86; Bais City, 76; Ayungon, 73; Valencia, 68; Tanjay City, 62; Mabinay, 57; and Manjuyod, 53.

The rest of the cities and municipalities had fewer than 50 cases, with Basay having the least, with one case.

The deaths recorded this year were from Ayungon, Valencia, Mabinay, Pamplona, and Sibulan.

Dr. Estacion said the decline in cases is due to an intensified “4S” strategy to combat dengue: Search & destroy mosquito breeding places, Seek early consultation, Secure self-protection, and Support anti-dengue fogging or spraying operations. (Judy F. Partlow/PNA)



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