Iloilo City rushes delivery of safe water as gastroenteritis deaths rise to 8

Inday Espina-Varona
Iloilo City rushes delivery of safe water as gastroenteritis deaths rise to 8

CLOSURE NOTICE. Sanitation teams post a closure notice on the wall of a water-refilling station in Iloilo city on Friday, September 2, for lacking proper business and health documents

Shella Mae Acanto Sangrines/Jerry Treñas Facebook

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas issues an executive order to conduct potability tests on water-refilling stations

Iloilo City handed down closure orders on Friday, September 2, to three water refilling stations that lacked business and sanitation documents, Mayor Jerry Treñas announced on his Facebook page.

Sanitation teams beefed up by cops started checking on establishments a day after Treñas issued Executive Order 054, ordering mandatory water potability tests for all water-refilling stations.

The mayor released the EO after deaths due to gastroenteritis rose to eight from four on August 28.

Cholera cases also increased from three to eight, City Epidemiology and Surveillance coordinator Dr. Marigold Calsas said in a press conference.

Treñas said the local government had procured static tanks in areas where it ordered deep wells closed because of the presence of coliform and E. coli.

While communities waited for the tanks, the city provided bottled water to ensure safe drinking water.

It also sent teams to check if all stations, including those outside outbreak areas, had complied with city business and health regulations.


The city health office (CHO) said 39 of 55 deep wells tested were found positive for E. coli and coliform. Fifteen others have coliform bacteria.

The city also found four water refilling stations positive for E. coli and coliform, while 14 others showed the presence of coliform bacteria.

CHO officer in charge Annabelle Tang said the presence of coliform and E. coli could be linked to an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis (AGE).

AGE cases ballooned to 228 on Wednesday, August 31, from only 125 cases a day earlier.

More than 50 patients with AGE remain in hospitals, the CHO said.

Children from one to 10 years old comprise most of the ill, with 102 cases.

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The city proper district has the most number of cases, followed by Jaro with 26; Aevalo and Mandurriao, 20 each; Lapuz, 12; and La Paz, 11.

The city could not give the figure of affected families in communities that have contaminated water sources, but said it would be in the thousands.

The CHO said they would conduct confirmatory tests on contaminated refilling stations before allowing resumption of operations.

Deep wells will need disinfection with chlorine, added Dr. Roland Fortuna of the health office.

Disinfection may extend to other areas that do not yet have AGE, though priority are those in areas with outbreaks. 

The mayor in a video statement urged residents to cooperate with health officials and follow protocols. 


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