GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 Jan) – South Cotabato province’s efforts to totally eradicate the parasitic filariasis disease has taken a major hit as it confirmed at least 28 new cases in the area.
Jose Barroquillo, mosquito-borne diseases coordinator of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said the filariasis cases were found during a series of surveillance activities late last year in the municipalities of Tboli and Lake Sebu.
He said at least 25 residents of Sitios Falan and Coong in Barangay Maan in Tboli tested positive of the disease during the field tests conducted by the members of the mosquito-borne disease surveillance team.
Three more cases were also confirmed in Sitios New Tupi and Tinugas in Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu, he said.
“The affected residents immediately received treatment but one case was deferred due to pregnancy,” he said in a report.
During the surveillance activities, Barroquillo said they used at least 131 test strips and conducted vector mapping using carabao bait traps.
To prevent the spread of the disease, he said they distributed long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to the affected residents.
He said they also conducted awareness and health promotion sessions with barangay officials and sitio leaders.
Barroquillo said they will return to the affected areas in the next few weeks to conduct indoor residual spraying and the clearing of waterways, especially streams and creeks that are possible breeding sites of disease-carrying mosquitoes.
He said they will distribute more insecticide-treated nets and conduct massive information and education campaigns among residents.
Barroquillo said they will intensify the disease monitoring on Barangays Maan and Ned and conduct nocturnal blood examination, filariasis tests and vector mapping in the adjacent villages.
The province was initially declared by the Department of Health and the World Health Organization as filariasis-free in 2013 after posting nearly zero prevalence rate for indigenous cases.
The IPHO had been closely monitoring the province’s border areas with Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat due to the confirmed presence of filarial vectors. (MindaNews)