TACLOBAN CITY – At least 138 residents in 12 villages of Llorente, Eastern Samar suffered from diarrhea this month due to contaminated water, the Department of Health (DOH) regional office here reported.

Although there have been diarrhea cases recorded since January, most patients manifested symptoms in June, said Dr. Ludina Insigne, DOH regional food and waterborne diseases medical officer.
“We have received reports that some residents of Llorente town were admitted in hospitals due to diarrhea. During active surveillance, it was found that more people suffered the illness and underwent home treatment,” Insigne said in a phone interview.

Only 22 were treated in hospitals, and four of them turned positive for cholera following a rapid test but without confirmatory tests yet, according to Insigne.

Most of the patients are residents of Naubay village while some are from Antipolo, Bacayawan, 8, 11, 12, Barobo, Magtino, Piliw, San Miguel, So-ong, and Tabok villages.

“There is high probability that people contracted the infection from contaminated water. Open defecation even in rivers is still common since some households have no toilet. Some families wash their dishes in rivers, which contaminated their food,” Insigne added.

Infection is spread through contaminated food or drinking-water, or from person-to-person as a result of poor hygiene.

Patients experienced abdominal pain and loose, watery, and more frequent bowel movements.

Although some cases are acute, Insigne said the DOH and the local health office have not yet declared an outbreak since they need more evidence.

The local government has stepped up the information drive to prevent the illness from spreading.(SARWELL Q. MENIANO/PNA)