By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO with reports from MRDC
BUSCALAN, Tinglayan, Kalinga — Since the first week of July several farmers from here were rushed to the Bontoc General Hospital for treatment due to Typhoid fever.
In an interview with Leon Baldon, one of the victims and the chairperson of the Buscalan Farmers’ Movement Association, he and his family and several village mates suffering from severe head ache and high fever were rushed to the hospital. They were told by the attending doctors that they were suffering from typhoid fever and therefore confined for treatment.
Baldon said that as of date several of them have already been discharged but he and a few others remain. He added though that more of his village mates with the same symptoms have been trickling into the shospital since the 20th of this month.
As of press time, children and adults were still being brought to the said hospital, and in a text message this morning, Baydon said some five more patients arrived from the neighboring village of Bugnay.
Later this afternoon, July 22, in another text message, a mother and daughter with the same symptoms have been admitted.
Earlier on July 7, staff members of the Montañosa Research and Development Center (MRDC) who were returning to Sagada from their field visit in Buscalan had assisted one of the villagers to the Bontoc General Hospital for treatment. He was diagnosed for typhoid fever. Timely treatment allowed him to be discharged in four days.
The MRDC researchers were scheduled to go back to Buscalan two weeks later but were advised by the barangay officers to postpone their visit because of the sudden outbreak in the village. It is not yet known if the local health authorities have checked into the situation.
The local doctors explained that typhoid fever is caused by the bacteria salmonella typhimurium or salmonella typhi. It is usually spread thru the feces (poo) of a carrier and poor sanitation that causes the contamination of water sources or thru unsanitary handling of food and unclean food implements as plates, spoons etc. Its symptoms include: high fever, stomach pain, vomiting and/or loose bowel movement. Without intervention, it may develop into typhoid fever that can trigger internal bleeding and cause the death of a patient. Usually the infected person eventually becomes a carrier even after having recovered from typhoid.
This disease is now common in third world countries, like the Philippines where government support for health services, sanitation, environmental biodiversity and clean water resources, etc. is not given priority or at the least sufficient for the needy communities. Misappropriation, wrong program directions, widespread graft and corruption in government are the usual culprits. Especially where water sources are seen to be wantonly used as garbage or mine waste dumps, sewer drain, that carelessly contaminate or infect downstream water sources and communities and the sea as the end recipient.
Meanwhile, this month, it is observed that the number of dengue fever patients are increasing at the provincial hospital and at the Luis Hora Memorial Hospital in Abatan, Bauko, Mt. Province. Dengue fever is a mosquito borne disease that has recently increasingly affected communities in the uplands. Despite government and local health groups’ education and information campaigns to control the spread of the virus, these have yet to reach the highland communities where earlier the survival of the virus was thought to be nil at certain high altitudes. # nordis.net