Sto. Tomas declares diarrhea outbreak, records 171 cases

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 July) —  Mayor Ernesto Evangelista of Santo Tomas town in Davao del Norte on Saturday declared a diarrhea outbreak in Barangay Tulalian after the local government recorded 171 total cases with one death since Wednesday from drinking “contaminated” tap water.

Mart Sambalud, information officer of the municipality of Santo Tomas, said the mayor has declared as “unsafe for drnking” the water provided by the Tulalian Water Association (TUWASA) and rationed potable water to residents.

The local government of Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte puts up a makeshift medical facility in a barangay covered court to attend to residents suffering from diarrhea. (Photo courtesy of Office of the Municipal Information Officer-Santo Tomas LGU)

Sambalud said that of 171 cases, 124 have been discharged while 47 are currently confined in various hospitals in the province – six  in Rivera Medical Center, Inc., 10 in  Matutes Medical Clinic and Hospital, 21 in Carmen District Hospital, five in Metropolitan Polymedic Community Hospital, Inc., and five in a medical facility of the Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc. (Tadeco).

He said a 58-year-old resident died after suffering from diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting.

The cases are from 128 households in the barangay’s nine puroks, he said.

According to the mayor, the situation is now put under control after the local government provided medical care.

In a press release, Charlemagne Fernandez, the Municipal Health Office Administrator, said the local health authorities began the investigation of the incident but the initial environment sanitation report pointed to the “poor chlorine disinfection” as the possible cause of the outbreak.

She said the result of the microbial water analysis conducted by the Provincial Health Office of Davao del Norte is expected to be released on Monday.

Fernandez added that her office also awaits the result of a rectal swab conducted on  15 patients to determine what bacteria caused the disease.

Municipal Administrator Atty. Elisa Evangelista-Lapiña directed the installment of a makeshift treatment facility in Barangay Tulalian covered court to provide meals and attend to patients.

At least two doctors and eight nurses were deployed there to assist and provide health and sanitation services to the affected residents.

She said new water containers and water-purification chemicals to the affected areas were provided and instructed residents to clean their surroundings and maintain proper sanitation to prevent another outbreak. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)