Mercy Pandia, 18, Caesar Pandia, 27, Pabio Walan, 36, Elsie Walan, 22, and Sonny boy Pandia, 1, were treated at the Cotabato Provincial Hospital for loose bowel movement and nausea. Their condition had stabilized.
Mercy suspected that contaminated water taken from the well near their house caused their illness. She said they experienced severe stomach ache after drinking water from it.
She said that at first she suspected that they might have been victims of water poisoning, as their neighbors sprayed pesticides in the rice fields a few meter away from the well.
“Abi ko naanud lang ang hilo sa amon nga bubon amo nga nagsakit busong namun,” (I thought pesticides contaminated the water in the well causing our stomach ache) she said.
But doctors at the provincial hospital said symptoms of cholera were found in the stool samples of all victims.
Dr. Renan Sungcad said the patients experienced nausea and vomiting which are among the symptoms of mild cholera.
Sungcad said cholera is caused by a germ called vibrio cholerae, which produces a powerful poison or endotoxin.
He said the disease is spread by flies and water contaminated with germs.
The municipal health office has conducted an ocular inspection to determine if the area has been affected by cholera virus.
Most of the inhabitants of Alegria are tribal people and depend on the well for drinking water.
Sungcad advised the residents to boil the water before drinking to ensure it is safe from bacteria and viruses that may endanger their health. (Williamor A. Magbanua/MindaNews contributor)