Department of Health (DOH) – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo on Friday ordered the immediate delivery of requested medicines and medical supplies to Quezon, Palawan to prevent the further increase of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) or diarrhea in selected barangays.
“Although the cases are now declining, we are still continuing disease surveillance and directly in coordination with the local and provincial health offices in case diarrhea cases in the affected barangays will again rise,” Dr. Janairo stated.
“The best thing to do right now is for the residents to seek medical check-up once they experience abdominal pain, dehydration and having watery stool so that they can be given the immediate medical response needed,” he added.
As of September 18, 2017, the Quezon Rural Health Unit reported a total of 644 acute gastro-enteritis (AGE) cases. There are 358 cases admitted at Quezon Medicare Hospital (QMH), 233 cases at the Quezon Municipal Health Office (MHO) and 53 cases at Luke Society Clinic.
Based on the merged data from Quezon RHU and Palawan Provincial Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (PESU) from July 4 – September 18, 2017, most affected barangays are Alfonso XII and Pinaglabanan. The diarrhea cases are 79% higher compared to the historical average recorded for the last four years which is on an average of 359 cases from 2013 to 2016.
Half of diarrhea cases reported were from 18 years old and below, affecting mostly 1-10 years old. Majority of the cases were female.
According to the result of the water source assessment conducted in the municipality of Quezon by the Palawan Epidemiology, Surveillance and Statistics Unit (PESSU) from September 19-20, 2017, most of the water sources, systems and refilling stations does not comply with the necessary health and sanitation requirements. E. coli and amoeba are also present in some of the water source.
Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery stools. It can be acute which lasts for 2-3 days or chronic which is the result of a viral or bacterial infection and can last for weeks.
“Proper hygiene is the best prevention against diarrhea. Clean drinking water is also important. Frequent hand washing with soap and water prevents the spread of infection. Use hand sanitizer if possible,” Janairo reminded.