2 children dead, 43 others ill from bacteria-stricken Maguindanao town well

Arianne Apatan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2020 07:51 PM

PARANG, Maguindanao – Two children died due to the diarrhea outbreak that hit Bongo Island in this town that started early this month, health authorities confirmed Wednesday.

The Bangsamoro region's Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement that 43 others became ill from the outbreak.

Dr. Amirel Usman, head of the MOH's regional epidemiology surveillance unit and health emergency management services cluster, said the outbreak is due to the island’s source of drinking water - a deep well which was later found out to have been contaminated with E.coli.

“We had it tested and found out that the deep well contains E.coli 8 times more than the normal content,” said Usman.

The affected residents' ages range from 4 months to 46 years old.

“We got stool samples from them at pina-culture po natin sa CRMC (we had them cultured at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center) but there were no pathogens found, so these are diarrhea cases, not cholera,” Usman added.

Usman noted that the 2 children who died, a 1-year-old and a 4-month-old, had pre-existing conditions.

“'Yung isa may severe pneumonia at 'yung isa naman ay may asthma,” the health official said.

(One had severe pneumonia and the other one had asthma.)

Bangsamoro Health Minister Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan said they have taken action to contain the outbreak.

"A team from the MOH-BARMM went to the area and brought chlorine and hyposol to sanitize their drinking water. As of now, pina-condemn muna natin 'yung deep well na pinagkukunan nila ng tubig para matiyak na hindi na magkasakit uli 'yung mga bata,” said Dipatuan.

(We had the deep well condemned to ensure that the children won't get sick again.)

The health team also brought medicines such as antibiotics and IV fluids to treat and hydrate affected residents.

Parang town Mayor Cahar Ibay said remaining patients have already been discharged.