South Cotabato steps up anti-filariasis measures

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 November) – Health personnel in South Cotabato have stepped up their interventions to effectively contain and eliminate the cases of the parasitic filariasis disease in at least two villages in T’boli town.

Tboli, South Cotabato. Map courtesy of Google

Jose Barroquillo Jr., mosquito-borne diseases coordinator of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said they are continually monitoring communities in Barangays Maan and Mongocayo in T’boli to prevent the emergence of new cases of the disease.

He said they already recorded a total of 56 confirmed cases of filariasis in several remote communities in two areas.

These were detected from among the 156 residents who were subjected to nocturnal blood smearing and 651 others to filaria strip test method from Jan. 1 to Oct. 20, he said.

“All the infected residents are undergoing treatment and regularly monitored by health workers,” Barroquillo said in a media forum in Koronadal City.

He said two of the patients underwent successful hydrocele operations facilitated by the IPHO and have so far recovered.

The official said they conducted regular case finding activities in the affected areas in coordination with the T’boli municipal health office.

He said they recently launched indoor residual spraying and stream cleanup to prevent the further multiplication of the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Barroquillo said they also distributed insecticide-treated mosquito nets to protect residents and stop new infections.

“We’re also conducting regular follow-ups to alert and make the residents aware of the situation in their areas,” he said.

Filariasis is a chronic parasitic infection that is caused by nematode parasites and spreads through infected mosquitoes.

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.

Late last year, the IPHO detected at least 28 new filariasis infections in Barangays Maan, T’boli and Ned in Lake Sebu. (MindaNews)