Suspected cholera outbreak kills 6, downs 100 in Cotabato

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

NORTH COTABATO -- A suspected cholera outbreak killed six and downed about a hundred persons in remote villages in North Cotabato, officials said.

To arrest the outbreak, the North Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) quickly sent medical personnel to four villages of Alamada in North Cotabato.

Vice Mayor Samuel Alim of Alamada said residents of the villages of Upper Dado, Lower Dado, Pigcawaran and nearby sitios, complained of severe stomach pain, vomiting and diarhea on Sunday.

The fatalities, he said, were two males and four females, three were minors.

Alim said the residents suspected that a chemical sprayed by farmers in rice fields last Friday triggered the food poisoning.

He said the chemicals used in the rice fields may have drained into drainage and irrigation canals following a heavy downpour last Saturday.

Water flowing freely in the villages was the main source of drinking water among the residents, Alim said.

Wilmar Robles, chairperson of Barangay Lower Dado, said at least 15 of his village mates were hospitalized after complaining of severe stomach disorder, vomited and diarrhea since Sunday.

"The number of patients is increasing, more and more are complaining of severe stomach pain. We need help, this is already an outbreak," Robles said in an interview.

The Alamada community hospital is now flooded with patients, mostly minors and elders. The hospital can only accommodate about 40 persons thus some were rushed to nearby Midsayap hospitals, also in North Cotabato.

Alim said following the incident, health officials advised local residents to boil all drinking water and avoid taking water from traditional water sources.

The town health office has already taken water samples for laboratory test.

Alim and Robles separately appealed for bottled drinking water to ensure safety of local residents.

Alamada has a population of 55,865 people in 14,966 households. Farming is the main source of living of residents. (PNA)

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