THE Department of Health (DOH) has clarified that rotavirus, not norovirus as reported earlier, was the main cause in the recent surge of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases recorded in Zamboanga City.

The City Health Office has recorded 1,538 cases of AGE from March 18 to April 29, and most of the patients were children aged one to five years old.

Dr. Maria Agnes Mabolo, DOH-Zamboanga Peninsula local health support division chief, said the main contaminant of rotavirus was the water drank by patients.

Mabolo disclosed that 65 percent of the 30 water samples they collected for laboratory analysis turned out to be contaminated with human or animal feces.

Mabolo said that 70 percent of the patients rely on water refilling stations as their source of drinking water.

The DOH advised residents to boil their water for drinking since other sources of water are also contaminated aside.

The CHO recorded that AGE has affected 10 of Zamboanga City’s 98 villages, namely: Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara, Zone III, Divisoria, Calarian, Mampang, Guiwan, Tigtabon, Boalan, and San Roque.

Mabolo said both rotavirus and norovirus cause acute gastroenteritis, vomiting, stomachache, fever, and diarrhea.

Rotavirus is endemic in the Philippines and the most common causes of gastroenteritis affecting children less than five year old while norovirus is common in the United States and common causes of stomach flu.