BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) reported a 113 percent increase in the number of typhoid and paratyphoid fever cases in the region for the first four months of this year after the agency was able to document some 939 cases compared to the 441 reported cases during the same period last year.
Karen Lonogan, senior health program officer of the DOH-CAR’s regional epidemiology surveillance unit, said that despite the spike in the number of typhoid fever cases for the first four months of this year, there were no reported typhoid-related deaths which matched the zero deaths related to typhoid during the same period last year.
Based on the report obtained from the DOH-CAR, Benguet had the highest number of typhoid fever cases with 334 cases followed by Mountain Province with 229 cases, Kalinga – 125 cases, Ifugao – 65 cases, Apayao – 64 cases, Baguio City – 62 cases, Abra 32 cases and non-CAR provinces 18 cases.
According to her, some 463 males were afflicted with typhoid which represent 49 percent of the total number of typhoid-stricken individuals regionwide with an age range of 7 days to 98 years old with a median of 14 years.
The DOH-CAR official noted that clustering of typhoid fever cases were uncovered in Benguet and Kalinga during the reckoning period and appropriate interventions were put in place by health personnel in the district health units to ensure that those patients will be able to be provided with the necessary medication.
Health authorities explained that typhoid fever is a systematic bacterial disease with insidious onset of sustained fever, severe headache, body malaise, anorexia, splenomegaly, non-productive cough in the early stages of the illness and constipation more often than diarrhea in adults.
Further, the infection is reportedly transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated feces, food and water.
Among the recommended preventive measures of typhoid or paratyphoid fever include the practice of proper handwashing before food preparation, before eating, after using the toilet; maintain a high standard personal hygiene; maintain rigorous standards of cleanliness in food preparation, food handling and food storage, especially salad and other cold served foods and report all diarrhea cases with increasing trend or clustering to the different district health units for proper monitoring and evaluation of the prevailing situation in certain areas.
Regional and provincial health officials urged people, especially those living in remote areas in the region, to immediately report incidents of diarrhea in the nearest rural health facility in their places so that appropriate diagnosis could be immediately provided them and for their illnesses to be given immediate medical attention before it will be too late that could result to the untimely demise of children.
People were reminded to boil their drinking water to remove whatever bacteria that might have contaminated the water and their food to ensure that they will not contract illnesses that will pose a serious threat to their lives, especially when health facilities are distant from their places to avoid acquiring unnecessary illnesses.
By Dexter A. See