Ice blocks eyed in Palaro diarrhea outbreak

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

THE Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas is not discounting the possibility that ice blocks might have caused the diarrhea outbreak that downed 160 athletes and officials of the Eastern Visayas delegation during the Palarong Pambansa 2013 held in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.

Renan Cimafranca, chief of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (Resu) of DOH-Central Visayas, told media Tuesday that they will get a sample of the ice blocks that were used to cool the drinking water supplies.

Cimafranca said that based on initial investigation, the ice blocks coming from the ice plant were not fit for human consumption since they were purposely used to preserve fresh fish, meat, and other perishable products that are needed to be cooked first.


The Resu-Central Visayas chief admitted, however, that it takes time to determine the result of the examination.

Cimafranca also inspected the dining area and the kitchen of the billeting area of the delegates currently housed in the Coligeo de Santa Catalina de Alejandria (COSCA) gym.

Dr. Henrissa Calumpang, chief of the government-run Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital, told Sun.Star that of the 19 athletes confined at the hospital, 17 of them were diagnosed with acute gastro enteritis and acute gastritis, while two others are positive of amoeba.

Calumpang, who is also designated as chairperson of the medical and sanitation committee of the ongoing Palarong Pambansa 2013, said all of these are due to contaminated drinking water and food.

She admitted, however, that they failed to get sampling of the food since the cases were reported late.

Hospital records show that three of the athletes affected with diarrhea were rushed to the hospital on April 19. Another nine athletes were confined on April 20, five others on April 21, and two more athletes were confined Monday.

She said of the 19 patients, eight of them were already discharged Sunday morning while 11 others are still at the hospital.

Hospital expenses are shouldered by the Provincial Government, Calumpang said. (Sunnex)

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