Diarrhea downs 169 Eastern Visayas athletes, officials
DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) -- At least 169 student-athletes and officials from Eastern Visayas are downed by diarrhea in their billeting quarters here.
According to Dr. Jennifer Picardal, delegation doctor of Region 8, the affected student-athletes showed signs of diarrhea on April 18, Thursday, three days after they arrived at Colegio de Santa Catalina de Alexandria (COSCA).
Picardal added there are 11 student-athletes and 2 officials currently confined at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital because of the outbreak.
Majority of the affected athletes are in the secondary division, all of whom showed signs of vomitting and headache prior to being diagnosed with diarrhea.
Asked about the source of the diarrhea outbreak, Picardal said it might have been due to the sanitary measures of the region's contracted caterer.
She said the caterer's usage of block ice retailed around the city might have been the cause of the outbreak, as well as the water they used in preparing the athletes' meals.
One of the coaches of the Eastern Visayas athletes, Violeta Tindugan, also aired her suspicion regarding the cause of the outbreak, citing the athletes' fondness of eating street food as a probable cause.
The officials handling the athletes, according to Picardal, are awaiting the results of water sampling in the area, conducted by the Department of Health (DOH), to shed light. They are expecting the results on April 23.
Participation in limbo
With just a day before the opening of the Palarong Pambansa, this is a major concern for the Region 8 contingent. While other athletes are doing their final preparations for the annual national competition, the affected athletes' chances of competing in their own respective events are still in limbo.
Picardal expressed her concern about the readiness of the athletes in the competition but reiterated the athletes' safety is the main priority at the end.
"We are not sure if they will be ready for the competition. We are really not sure. It would take a miracle but we're still hoping this will pass. What's important is that all our athletes will be safe," she said.
One of the affected athletes include Andre Rodriguez, 16 years old and one of the region's top volleyball athletes. Clearly weakened by the sickness, this is what he said.
"The incident is a major setback not just for me, but for the others, who will not make the opening of the Palaro," he said.
Region 8 has a total contingent of 530 delegates, of which around 300 are student athletes. - with reports from Levi Verora/Rappler.com