DOH: even a little water can serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 15, 2019   •   2539

The Department of Health (DOH) has raised concerns during the ongoing water shortage in Metro Manila and nearby areas especially with the increasing dengue cases in the country.

The recent report of DOH Epidemiology Bureau has recorded 40,614 dengue cases dengue cases from January 1 to March 2 which is 68% higher compared to the same period last year.

According to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, the water collected by residents can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes especially if it is not used immediately.

Duque encourages the public to use the 4-S strategy:

  • Search and destroy breeding places
  • Secure self-protection
  • Seek early consultation
  • Support spraying to prevent impending outbreak

“Pwedeng takpan ng plastic, talian sa may labi ng mga lalagyan at siguraduhin na ito’y hindi mapamugaran ng mga lamok. Doon ang kiti- kiti ay dadami, magiging lamok at sila ay magkakalat ng sakit sa dengue, [They can cover it with plastic and ensure that it will not become breeding grounds for mosquitoes because it can cause dengue],” he added. —Aileen Cerrudo

PH Gov’t urged to take precautionary measures vs threat of new coronavirus strain

Robie de Guzman   •   January 22, 2020

Passengers wearing face masks who arrived from Guangzhou, China lineup for immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, 22 January 2020. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – Several lawmakers on Wednesday urged the Philippine government to take precautionary measures and prepare emergency response plans amid the threat of a new strain of coronavirus from China.

In a statement, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to put schools on alert and ensure that preventive steps are in place to protect students from the respiratory disease that has already infected 222 individuals across neighboring countries of China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.

“Sa ating pangambang makapasok itong bagong coronavirus sa ating bansa, mabuti nang maging sigurado tayo dahil ang isang kumpirmadong kaso ay maaaring maikalat sa iba,” Gatchalian said.

He made the appeal after the Department of Health (DOH) reported Tuesday it is closely monitoring a child who may have contracted novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) prior to entering the Philippines from Wuhan, China.

The DOH said the child manifested symptoms such as cough, throat irritation, and fever. He is currently stable but still has a cough.

Based on samples examined by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the unnamed child tested negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Both diseases are caused by a family of viruses called coronavirus.

But he tested positive for a non-specific pancoronavirus assay, meaning he is infected with a strain of coronavirus. The sample has been sent to a laboratory in Australia for further testing.

The new strain of coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan City on December 31, 2019.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said novel coronavirus causes respiratory infections which may develop into severe cases such as pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death if left untreated.

Coronavirus, which is a large group of viruses common among animals, may be transmitted to humans through contact with an infected person or animal.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture also said that schools should have protocols in identifying students displaying flu-like symptoms and emphasize the practice of good hygiene, such as frequent hand-washing, to avoid any diseases.

Senator Nancy Binay, meanwhile, called on the DOH and other government agencies to prepare for an emergency response plan in dealing with the respiratory illness from China.

Binay said she filed Senate Resolution 293 which aims to determine appropriate measures and necessary funding requirements to ensure quick government response to address possible outbreaks.

“Preemptive measures will always the better option. Kailangan natin paghandaan na dahil actionable ang impormasyong hawak ng DOH. We must act immediately to monitor reports of the disease or sightings, and abate the possibility of an outbreak,” she said in a statement.

“Mabuting maging handa, hindi lamang ang DOH at ang pambansang pamahalaan, kundi pati na rin ang mga local na pamahalaan hanggang sa lebel ng barangay,” she added.

The DOH earlier advised the public to always practice frequent handwashing, avoid crowded places and contact with an infected person, and to thoroughly cook food, especially those containing meat and dairy products.   

DOH monitors child from Wuhan, China who manifested flu-like symptoms

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2020

Medical staff transfer patients to Jinyintan hospital where patients infected with a new strain of Coronavirus identified as the cause of the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak are treated in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 20 January 2020. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it is monitoring the case of a five-year old boy with a history of travel to Wuhan, China for manifesting flu-like symptoms.

The child, who arrived in Cebu with his mother on January 12, was admitted in a hospital in Central Visayas after he manifested symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, throat irritation and cough prior to entering the Philippines.

The DOH said the young boy is now in stable condition but still had cough.

Based on samples examined by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the unnamed child tested negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Both diseases are caused by a family of viruses called coronavirus.

But he tested positive for a non-specific pancoronavirus assay, meaning that he is infected with a strain of coronavirus. The sample has been sent to a laboratory in Australia for further testing.

The DOH said the child will remain “a person under investigation” until they could get confirmatory results.

The Bureau of Quarantine is carrying out tracing of air passengers who may have come in contact with the boy during transit.

“We are reminding the airlines that the universal protective kit should be available anytime on board, the passenger locator card, the protocol on handling cases on board and of course reporting of cases on board to the ground crew,” Bureau of Quarantine director, Dr. Ferdinand Salcedo said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said novel coronavirus causes respiratory infections which may develop into severe cases such as pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death if left untreated.

Coronavirus, which is a large group of viruses common among animals, may be transmitted through contact with an infected person.

“We are not sure of the source of the virus whether it came from animal or meat and other source. We believe that maybe human-to-human transmission,” WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said.

The DOH said they are also monitoring three other individuals who manifested flu-like symptoms upon their arrival at the Kalibo International Airport.

The agency said all three travelers, reportedly Chinese nationals, are currently well and are no longer exhibiting any symptoms.

All hospitals and medical facilities in the country have been alerted about cases of coronavirus.

The WHO said there are 222 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus – majority of them are from China while others were from Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

The new strain of coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

The DOH advised the public to always practice frequent handwashing, avoid crowded places and contact with infected person and to thoroughly cook food, especially meat and dairy products. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Ash-covered fruits, veggies still safe to eat after thorough washing, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) assured the public that fruits and vegetables covered with layers of ash from the Taal Volcano are still safe to eat after some thorough washing.

“’Yung gulay tsaka prutas na nalagyan ng abo basta hugasan lang ng mahusay ‘yun at linisin, puwede po kainin ‘yun,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said at a Palace press briefing on Wednesday.

He said even plants cultivated in farms affected by the ashfall brought about by the Taal Volcano eruption are also safe for consumption as long as these are thoroughly washed with water.

Ashfall from Taal volcano blanketed crops and livestock in surrounding areas since its eruption began on Sunday.

The Department of Agriculture earlier reported that damage to crops and livestock has reached more than P500 million.

Meanwhile, Domingo advised the public to be cautious and refrain from eating fish caught in Taal lake and other bodies of water affected by the Taal eruption as these may contain toxins that can have harmful effects on human health.

“Might as well be cautious because we know that toxic substances have been thrown out of the volcano and na-dissolve ‘yan sa tubig,” he said.

Taal Volcano spewed ash on Sunday that sent thousands of residents scrambling for safety.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has reiterated that no one should stay in the Taal Volcano island and other nearby areas susceptible to volcano tsunami, base surge, and ballistic projectiles as a result of the eruption.

Phivolcs said that Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4, which means that a hazardous eruption is possible within hours to days.

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