DOH probes lambanog poisoning incident in Laguna

Robie de Guzman   •   December 23, 2019   •   528

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it is now investigating reports of poisoning cases allegedly caused by the ingestion of coconut wine or lambanog in Laguna.

DOH data showed that 265 individuals from Rizal town in Laguna have fallen ill after drinking lambanog.

Of this number, 66 were brought to the Philippine General Hospital for treatment and observation. Forty-nine of them are male between 13 to 65 years old.

The DOH said all had history of lambanog ingestion between December 19 to 22.

Sixty-two other affected individuals were brought to the East Avenue Medical Center, 82 were taken to Rizal Medical Center, 13 to Quirino Memorial Medical Center and 42 to Batangas Medical Center for medical management.

The DOH assured it is on top of the issue as it continues to investigate the alleged lambanog poisoning.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has repeatedly issued warnings to lambanog brewers over its high methanol content, and urged the public to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming the alcohol beverage.

It also advised the public to only buy lambanog brews that are registered with the FDA.

“Lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans. Methanol is a naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“I urge everyone to avoid drinking alcoholic drinks this holiday season. Let us stay sober as we celebrate the festivities with our families and loved ones,” he added.

The DOH chief said that FDA regulatory inspectors have been deployed to Rizal, Laguna to collect samples, and investigate the alleged poisoning incident. Teams have also been dispatched to different health facilities where affected individuals were referred.

New COVID-19 cases in PH hits 1,509, total cases reached 362,243

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2020

The Philippines records a total of 1,509 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with 362,243 total cases, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Wednesday (October 21).

The DOH also recorded 60 deaths and 911 recoveries. The day’s recorded recoveries brought the total number to 311,506.

Based on DOH COVID-19 Case Bulletin no. 221, 90% of the total daily cases occurred within the recent 14 days, while the top regions in the recent two weeks are in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 320 cases, and Region 4A with 297 cases.

The DOH also added that 41 duplicates were removed from the total case count. Thirty-one recovered cases and three deaths have also been removed from the list.

The University of the Philippines Octa Research Team said there are still areas with high COVID-19 cases since October 11, based on their research. These areas include several areas in the National Capital Region (NCR), Pasig, Makati, Pasay, Mandaluyong, and Marikina.

Meanwhile, DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said 60-70% of the country’s population should be vaccinated against COVID-19 for herd immunity.

“It doesn’t stop there because we would need 60-70% of the population immunized so we can have herd immunity. So when we talk about P12.5 billion that is just covering our population,” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH, WHO encourages public to access free mental health course online

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 9, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging the public to enroll in the free online course about mental health.

The QualityRights Mental Health e-training course was developed by WHO and translated in Filipino in partnership with the DOH. It aims to improve access to quality mental health and social services.

Participants of the online course, according to the Health Department, will be able to improve their own mental health as well as support their friends and love ones who are experiencing mental health problems.

Interested individuals can register for free at http://bit.ly/QualityRightsPH.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III hopes the free online course will be able to help in addressing the mental health conditions and cognitive disabilities in the country.

“Mental health is a major public health concern that needs to be openly discussed and addressed. With the e-learning modules translated in Filipino, we hope to educate more people and facilitate more discussions that will ultimately help us understand and address the need of Filipinos with mental health conditions, and other intellectual and cognitive disabilities,” he said. AAC

Avigan clinical trials in PH may start next week – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The clinical trials on anti-flu drug Avigan in the country may finally begin next week, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the process for the clinical trial is currently being finalized, adding that the proponent of the research has been given go signal to recruit study participants.

Vergeire said a minor issue on the insurance documents just needed to be fixed before they could begin the trial.

“Merong minor comment ang legal service namin for this insurance document. Iyon na lang but we already gave the go signal to the proponents,” she said.

“Kapag nakapag-recruit na tayo, hopefuly by next week talagang officially starting na tayo,” she added.

The clinical trial, which aims to look into the possible benefits of the Japan-made drug to coronavirus disease patients, will last for nine months. Four hospitals will participate in the trial.

It was supposed to start in August but was delayed due to some issues in legal arrangements.

Avigan tablets were delivered in early August by the Japanese government for the use of 100 patients. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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