DOH: No outbreak but thousands ill in evacuation centers-A A +A
Sunday, August 12, 2012
THOUSANDS are ill in evacuation centers but the Department of Health (DOH) assured the public that no disease outbreaks have been detected after the recent massive monsoon rains and flooding that hit the country.
The DOH said more than 2,000 were found ill in evacuation and health centers in the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon and the Southern Tagalog region with respiratory infections, skin diseases, and diarrhea as some of the leading causes of consultations.
Acute respiratory infections comprise 60 percent of these consultations, the DOH said.
The health agency also said that is regularly assessing the health status of evacuation centers to ensure the effectiveness of camp management as early provision of resettlement will most likely decrease health risks.
“Better camp management in evacuation centers will ensure that disease outbreaks will be prevented,” DOH Secretary Enrique Ona said.
Ona also ordered the deployment of health teams to all flood-affected areas in NCR, Central Luzon, and the Southern Tagalog region to determine the health status of displaced families and address priority health needs.
“Health teams from the Department of Health will provide medical consultations and public health services combined to localities flooded due to the southwest monsoon,” Ona said.
Meanwhile, the DOH Center for Health Development–National Capital Region (CHD-NCR) said all government hospitals and facilities in Metro Manila will be providing free medical treatment to all affected families in evacuation centers.
“We are encouraging the people in evacuation centers to bring immediately those who are in need of medical treatment to the nearest government hospital in their area for proper treatment and care,” CHD-NCR Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said.
Janairo also urged evacuees with illnesses to immediately seek medical help because overcrowding in some evacuation centers would help the transmission of diseases.
“Let us help prevent the spread of diseases and avert possible transmissions. Seek early consultation and treatment. Prevention is the still the best cure.” Janairo said.
He added that various medicines will also be provided to patients while the medical expenses will be shouldered by the DOH as part of its “Kalusugang Pangkalahatan” Program.
Early this week, the CHD-NCR issued a Code Blue alert in all government hospitals and health facilities in NCR, directing all medical personnel to be on a 24-hour duty and DOH operation centers to be operating every day.
Hospitals and community health units were also directed to accept an influx of casualties with medicines and medical supplies ready to be distributed to affected residents.
Preventative medication will also be given to residents in evacuation centers and individuals engaged in rescue and relief efforts to avert possible spread of leptospirosis in the area.
Before the southwest monsoon affected several parts of the country this month, the number of leptospirosis cases has already increased by 125 percent from January to July 2012, based on the data of the DOH.
For this year, 2,002 cases were recorded nationwide, compared to 887 for the same period in 2011.
Leptospirosis is most commonly contracted through contact with water contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Signs and symptoms include fever, chills, and intense headache.
But in extreme cases, complications like meningitis, renal failure, respiratory distress, may arise and lead to fatality.
Deaths from the disease increased from last year’s 85 to 97 this year.
According to the data of the DOH, Northern Mindanao has the most number of leptospirosis cases with 906. The region includes Cagayan De Oro City and Iligan City which were devastated by flash floods caused by Typhoon Sendong in December 2011. (ELB/Sunnex)