Over 1,000 suffer from diarrhea in N. Cotabato

By Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2014 03:27 PM | Updated as of May 20 2014 02:47 AM

MANILA – The Department of Health said there are now 1,083 cases of acute watery diarrhea in North Cotabato.

DOH spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy clarified in a press conference that not all cases were confirmed to be cholera.

The DOH is still not declaring an outbreak in the area as well but said it continues to monitor the situation.

Lee Suy said the local government unit can declare an outbreak or an epidemic on its own, but the DOH is still not calling the current situation an outbreak at point.

"Not yet, because we haven't seen it that much na andami na talaga ng [may] cholera," Lee Suy said.

The DOH said out of the 1,083 people suffering from acute watery diarrhea, 44 were given rectal swabs and only 4 turned out to be positive for cholera

The DOH said that most of the patients were diagnosed with amoebiasis. Nonetheless, it will give medications suited for cholera for all the patients.

"We'd rather work on cholera. It also covers amoebiasis because you provide fluids, you still provide tests,'' Lee Suy said.

So far, eight people have died in the area.

Lee Suy said that until now, the DOH has yet to confirm the causes of death. The DOH, however, said cholera was the most likely culprit.

Teams from the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila have been deployed to assist the communities in North Cotabato in diagnosis and management of the illness, the DOH said.