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By Francis Allan L. Angelo and Tara C. Yap

 

LOCAL and health officials are monitoring a barangay in Iloilo City where the first positive A(H1N1) case in the city was detected.

The Department of Health (DoH) said the first A(H1N1) flu patient in Iloilo City is a 38-year-old seaman from Jaro district.

The patient traveled from Germany and stopped over Hong Kong before arriving in the country June 1. He showed flu-like symptoms June 9 and was brought to Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) for check-up.

The patient’s throat swab tested positive for A(H1N1) virus, according to results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). He is now in isolation at the WVMC.

Two more positive cases were detected in Bacolod City, the DoH said.

The patients are both males, ages 7 and 8 years old, who came from the United States. They are isolated at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Hospital in Bacolod City.

The patients in Bacolod City have completed their medication and do not show any sign of symptoms anymore. They will be released from home treatment soon if the results of the second swab turn negative.

Since May 1, Western Visayas has recorded 4 positive A(H1N1) cases. The total A(H1N1) infections in the country totaled 311 cases.

Dr. Jessie Glenn Alonsabe, DoH regional epidemiologist, said close monitoring and surveillance are being conducted in the areas where the three new cases were detected.

Alonsabe said the whole family members of the patient were advised to be admitted in the hospital or undergo home quarantine.

“Although they were found positive for the virus, they all showed mild symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat.

Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the city government has activated the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTS) to help in the contact tracing and surveillance.

Dr. Urminico Baronda, city health officer, said barangay officials and City Health Office (CHO) personnel are helping trace the persons who came in close contact with seaman.

“There should be no cause for alarm because we are joining hands with the DoH and the City Health Office in containing the virus and prevent a community outbreak. As the statistics show, the mortality rate of A(H1N1) virus is only 0.5% worldwide,” Mabilog said.

The barangay captain of the Iloilo City village where the first A(H1N1) flu patient resided said they learned of the positive case through Dr. Teresita Chu of the CHO.

The barangay official said they met city health officials Wednesday morning to discuss the proper measures to be taken.

He said they will fully cooperate with CHO and the DoH to closely monitor the community.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the barangay hall was transformed into a monitoring station by CHO and DOH 6 personnel.

Any person who came in close contact with the patient is advised to report to health officials at the barangay hall as soon as they exhibit flu-like symptoms. 

Alonsabe said the public should observe hygienic practices such as washing of hands and cough and sneezing etiquette to prevent the virus from spreading.

Alonsabe said the local chief executives in the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo and their respective health officers were informed and provided technical and logistical assistance to prevent community level spread of the flu.

Baronda said the DoH has enough Tamiflu which can help cure the A(H1N1) flu.

“The DoH has the Tamiflu stocks because we are controlling the dispensation of the medicine to avoid the virus from becoming resistant to the drug,” Baronda said.

A recent memorandum from the DoH central office ordered drug stores in the country not to dispense Tamiflu capsules to buyers sans doctor’s prescription.

Alonsabe said the DoH central office also issued a memorandum requiring all private and public hospitals to put isolation areas for A(H1N1) patients.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ASIDE from the possible spread of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, Iloilo City health officials are also monitoring cases of water-borne diseases.

Dr. Urminico Baronda, City Health Office (CHO) chief, said they are closely watching cases of leptospirosis, diarrhea and typhoid fever with the onset of the rainy season.

The CHO has recorded 26 cases of typhoid fever in the city since January including one death.

Baronda said they recorded 77 dengue cases including 8 fatalities since January.

No leptospirosis case has been recorded in the city so far.

The CHO chief told residents to avoid dirty floodwater to minimize possible contraction of leptospirosis, which is spread through rat feces.

Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, regional epidemiologist in Region 6, said the Department of Health (DoH-6) has raised the white code alert on “WILD” diseases in the region, particularly in the city and province of Iloilo.

The WILD diseases include water-borne diseases such as dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid; influenza including the A (H1N1) flu; leptospirosis; and dengue.

Dengue cases continue to rise with more than 600 recorded cases in Western Visayas as of first week of June.

However, cases recorded in January-June this year are lower compared to the same period in 2008, Alonsabe said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

SEVERAL Iloilo City barangays are being monitored by the City Health Office (CHO) after cases of typhoid fever this year increased by more than 800% compared to last year.

 

Based on CHO data, a total of 289 Iloilo City residents were stricken by typhoid fever January to October 2008. A total of 10 persons died of the said illness.

 

Last year’s record for the same period was only 33 cases with no fatality recorded.

 

The most number of typhoid fever cases occurred February with 85 persons affected and 3 fatalities. The month of March saw the second highest number of typhoid cases, 54.

 

Dr. Urminico Baronda, CHO chief, said the sudden surge of typhoid cases could be attributed to the contamination of sources of drinking water in the aftermath of the flood brought about by typhoon Frank June 21.

 

Baronda said they are constantly monitoring typhoid fever incidence in the city, particularly the Waterfront barangays where the most number of cases occurred.

 

The Waterfront area is suffering from lack of potable water supply after the typhoon damaged the facilities of the Metro Iloilo Water District.

 

Typhoid fever, also known as enteric fever, or commonly known as typhoid, is an illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Common worldwide, it is transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with feces from an infected person.

 

Typhoid fever is characterized by a sustained fever as high as 40 °C (104 °F), profuse sweating, gastroenteritis, and nonbloody diarrhea. Less commonly a rash of flat, rose-colored spots may appear.

 

Typhoid fever in most cases is not fatal. Antibiotics, such as ampicillin, chloramphenicol, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, Amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin, have been commonly used to treat typhoid fever in developed countries.

 

Prompt treatment of the disease with antibiotics reduces the case-fatality rate to approximately 1%. When untreated, typhoid fever persists for three weeks to a month. Death occurs in between 10% and 30% of untreated cases.

 

Sanitation and hygiene are the critical measures that can be taken to prevent typhoid. Typhoid does not affect animals and therefore transmission is only from human to human. Typhoid can only spread in environments where human feces or urine are able to come into contact with food or drinking water. Careful food preparation and washing of hands are therefore crucial to preventing typhoid.

 

DENGUE CASES DOWN

 

If typhoid fever incidence in the city surged, the number of dengue victims this year decreased.

 

From 431 dengue cases including 20 fatalities recorded in 2007, only 121 cases with 6 fatalities were monitored this year.

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