Cholera outbreak declared in NegOcc as cases rise to seven

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Thursday said two more persons contracted cholera, bringing the total cases to seven so far.

Earlier, Provincial  Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang recommended the declaration of a cholera outbreak in three barangays, as the number of victims rose to five, including one fatality.

Lacson told reporters here that the additional two victims are in Silay City in Barangays Guinhalaran and E. Lopez.

When asked if it is alarming, Lacson said “it can be, it can get (alarming) because the focus is now in one LGU (local government unit), Silay City.”

He added that the number is considered small citywide “but if we don’t do anything about it, it can spread.”

Lacson said the city officials are already aware of their situation adding that “they should be concerned and I know they are doing everything they can to put a stop to the increasing number of cholera victims.”

Tumimbang said there is no need to panic, as the declaration of a cholera outbreak or epidemic is more of an “educational campaign” to raise awareness of the people against water contamination.

A cholera outbreak was declared by Silay City Mayor Joedith Gallego on September 26 in Brgy. Guinhalaran following the death of an 88-year-old resident, who tested positive for cholera, based on the result of a laboratory examination.

Two other residents of barangays Guinhalaran and Lantad in Silay City, one each in Brgy. Batea, EB Magalona and Brgy. 6A in Victorias City, also had cholera last week.

The Department of Health stated that it takes only one case of cholera for an outbreak to be declared in a certain area.

“The declaration of an epidemic or outbreak is more an educational campaign, to inform the people that they have to be extra careful, rather than hide it,” Tumimbang said.

That is one way of telling the people, to do the basic water sanitation and hygiene advocacy, he added.

He recommended the declaration of a cholera outbreak in Brgy. Lantad, Silay City, Brgy. Batea in EB Magalona and Brgy. 6A in Victorias City.

Tumimbang explained that cholera is a treatable disease, which could be treated by antibiotics prescribed by doctors.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

The Department of Health – Western Visayas, in its issued advisory, said that the rising cases of Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) was due to ingestion of water from contaminated shallow wells.