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PAMPANGA, Philippines – Angeles Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. ordered a city-wide inspection of water sources after local health officials warned of a sudden rise in gastroenteritis cases in the city.
At least 75 people in Angeles were documented to have fallen ill due to gastroenteritis in just a week’s time, 62% of which were recorded over the weekend.
Alarmed, Lazatin issued Memorandum Circular No. 370-2024, directing the City Health Office (CHO), City General Services Office, and the Business Permit and Licensing Division to organize teams to carry out a city-wide inspection of water sources.
The inspections would include public and private schools, hospitals, canteens, cafeterias, and even city hall.
Lazatin also ordered microbiological and chemical tests on all water suppliers and water refilling stations in the city, and for the CHO to collaborate with the Department of Health (DOH) to proactively prevent an outbreak.
The local government has recorded 75 people, including children, who suffered from gastroenteritis from January 29 to February 5.
Among those who fell ill, 25 were documented at the city government-run Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center (RLMMC), 28 from different private hospitals, and 22 from the rural and barangay health centers since January 29, according to City Information Office head Arnel San Pedro.
San Pedro said those who contracted the virus complained of diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever.
Dr. Froilan Canlas, RLMMC officer-in-charge, said the cases surged in just a week’s time, and 47 of the 75 cases were documented over the weekend or from February 3 to 5.
Some patients came from nearby towns such as Porac, and the cities of Mabalacat and San Fernando, he said.
“There was a sudden but slight alarm. However, there is no clustering – meaning, they came from different areas. There is no pattern but there is an unusual increase in the number,” Canlas told Rappler on Monday.
Canlas, however, said only a few people had to be admitted to hospitals.
“Normally, those who are suffering from LBM (loose bowel movement), and vomiting, are children who lack hydration,” he added.
Viral gastroenteritis can be contracted through contact with an infected person or by consuming contaminated food or water. Most affected are infants, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems. Extra precaution on personal hygiene and sanitation is advised, said Canlas.
Meanwhile, Lazatin called on the public to be vigilant and ensure the cleanliness of their water and food sources. – Rappler.com