Water sources in 12 Southern Leyte towns hit by typhoon Odette were found positive for E.Coli or Escherichia Coli, a study conducted by the regional health department found, as 50 people in the province fell sick with acute diarrhea.
The 12 towns were Anahawan, Bontoc, Hinundayan, Libagon, Liloan, Macrohon, Malitbog, Padre Burgos, Saint Bernard, San Ricardo, Sogod and Tomas Oppus.
Some 69 water samples were collected from 16 LGUs in the province for random water quality testing, which were collected from the sources which includes hand pumps, reservoirs and household connections.
Of the 50 diarrhea cases, Maasin City had the most with 12, followed by San Ricardo with 9 cases, and Pintuyan and San Francisco (6 each).
Dr. Marc Steven Capongcol, head of the regional epidemiological and surveillance unit and health emergency management section of DOH Eastern Visayas, confirmed that those acute watery diarrhea cases were seen at rural health units.
However, no patient was admitted to hospital and no fatality was recorded.
According to regional sanitary engineer Percival de Paz, Odette may have damaged pipelines allowing pathogens to infect water. Soil intrusion and erosion could also be reasons for contamination.
The Department of Health has advised residents to boil water or treat it before drinking. LGUs were also informed to provide logistics, such as waterine.
The need to rehabilitate and improve water sources is advised by the DOH. The Philippine Red Cross started to deliver safe drinking water for the residents in some of the affected towns. — With a report by Jenette Ruedas