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Philippines - Cholera, not amoeba, hit San Carlos
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San Carlos City, Pangasinan Province, Ilocos Region
THE Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health confirmed that cholera, and not an amoeba outbreak, hit San Carlos City, Joe Alingasa Jr., San Carlos City disaster risk reduction and management officer said. Alingasa said this is the result of the findings of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) after they sent 22 specimens. Seven of the 22 samples tested positive for the vibrio cholerae bacteria that causes acute diarrheal illness. Alingasa said that the DOH questioned the declaration of Mayor Renato Gustilo of a state of health emergency or an amoebiasis outbreak after a sudden rise in residents admitted to the San Carlos City Hospital in February. "When personnel from the DOH national and regional offices arrived, they conducted rectal swabbing of several patients that were sent to the RITM for testing," he pointed out. Alingasa admitted that the laboratory of the San Carlos City Hospital can only detect amoebiasis bacteria, but not the bacteria that causes gastroenteritis. In the case of San Carlos City, he said the amoeba contamination spread to 18 barangays. Gastroenteritis cases in the city have now gone down, Alingasa said, but he added that a 54-year-old resident died last week from waterborne disease. "It is still not clear where the illness started, but we are regularly conducting a weekly monitoring and water analysis of all water refilling stations," he said. Alingasa added that the San Carlos City Waterworks Department also conducts chlorination on its water system to ensure that there are no bacteria in the water coming out of its water lines.*