BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) reported a thirty nine percent increase in typhoid fever cases regionwide for the first fifty weeks of 2016 with 3,841 cases compared to the 2,756 cases during the similar period in 2015.
Dr. Lakshmi Legaspi, DOH-CAR regional director, said there were 2 fatalities due to typhoid fever in 2016, a 71-year old female from Sadanga, Mountain Province and a 33-year old male from Tuba, Benguet while there were also 2 fatalities reported during the same period the previous year.
“Typhoid fever is a systematic bacterial disease with insidious onset of sustained fever, severe headache, malaise, anorexia, splenomegaly, non-productive cough in the early stages of the illness, and constipation more often than diarrhea in adults. The disease is transmitted by food and water contaminated by feces and urine of patients and carriers,” Legaspi stressed.
Ifugao reported the highest increase at 293 percent with 224 typhoid fever cases during the reckoning period in 2016 compared to the 57 cases recorded during the similar period the previous year followed by Apayao that registered a 209 percent increase with 272 cases in 2016 compared to the 88 typhoid fever cases in 2015.
Further, Kalinga posted a 146 percent increase in typhoid cases during the first 50 weeks of 2016 with 420 cases compared to the 171 cases during the similar period the previous year while Benguet reported a 67 percent increase with 1,889 typhoid fever cases in 2016 compared to the 1,129 cases during the similar reckoning period the previous year.
On the other hand, Baguio City reported a 45 percent decrease with 212 typhoid fever cases in 2016 compared to the 386 cases during the same reckoning period the previous year followed by Abra that posted a 36 percent decline with 58 typhoid fever cases last year compared to the 96 cases during the same period the previous year.
Typhoid fever cases from non-CAR areas registered a 19 percent decrease with 58 cases last year compared to the 72 cases during the same period in 2015 followed by Mountain Province which posted the lowest decrease in typhoid fever cases with 708 cases last year compared to the 762 cases during the same reckoning period the previous year.
Legaspi recommended that the municipal epidemiology and surveillance unit personnel of Pudtol, Apayao; Paracelis, Mountain Province and Tabuk City, Kalinga to intensify diarrheal surveillance in their areas and report suspect cases to local health authorities immediately.
Moreover, she ordered health personnel to conduct prevention and control activities of typhoid fever and acute bloody diarrhea cases and to conduct testing of water sources at least quarterly.
The DOH-CAR official underscored the importance of conducting dis-infection of water tanks or reservoirs and to do information campaign on maintenance of personal hygiene, practice hand hygiene, hand washing with soap and water and using hand sanitizer among others.
She also encouraged people to practice safe food preparation, handling and appropriate food storage as well as enforce suitable quality control procedures in industries that prepare food and drink for human consumption.
People must also collect and dispose of garbage properly, boiled drinking water for 3 to 5 minutes and maintain cleanliness of toilet facilities./By Dexter A. See