DUMAGUETE CITY – As health authorities continue to trace the possible cause of diarrhea cases in Bacong, Negros Oriental, the Department of Health (DOH) in the province reported that the number of affected residents rose to 58 on Thursday.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, Dr. Socrates Villamor, DOH-Negros Oriental provincial chief, said majority of those who fell ill were young people and children.

Three of them, including a child, were hospitalized and one was found to be positive for amoebiasis, he said.

Most of the patients are recuperating at home with symptoms like fever and vomiting, aside from diarrhea, he added.

Villamor said the surge of diarrhea cases started early this week, with an initial report from the Rural Health Unit (RHU) of Bacong noting 45 infections in different barangays on Tuesday.

Some of these cases were logged in Barangays South Poblacion, West Poblacion, Buntis, and San Miguel.

“On Wednesday, five more cases were added after my RESU (regional epidemiological surveillance unit) and the PESU (provincial epidemiological surveillance unit) went there and this morning, eight additional infections were recorded,” Villamor said.

He said the RHU took water samples on Wednesday and sent them to Cebu City for laboratory testing to determine what has caused the event.

Health authorities in Bacong also conducted rectal swabbing and the specimens were sent to Cebu City for examination, he said, adding that residents were advised to boil their drinking water or if possible, consume bottled water, for now.

Villamor said there is still no declaration of an outbreak while health authorities are waiting for the laboratory results and a recommendation from the RHU. (PNA)