Diarrhea cases rise on Pag-asa island in West PH Sea, says mayor
A spurt of diarrhea cases has hit Pag-asa Island (Thitu), a small Filipino community in the middle of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), since Thursday.
Kalayaan Island (Spratlys) Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. said by phone on Friday that he had convened the municipal disaster council to address the sudden increase of diarrhea cases and other possible related diseases on the island.
“There were 26 patients who have been suffering from diarrhea and vomiting since Thursday,” he said.
Nine of the patients are children, aged between one to four years old.
“Alarming yun samin, nasa 100 ba naman ang population namin,” he said.
Bito-onon said they suspect the water source, a dug well, as the cause of the increase in reported cases of waterborne diseases.
“It will need to be disinfected,” he said.
The mayor said he has requested a military plane to fly a doctor and additional medicines to the island on Saturday.
Pag-asa island has a small clinic but has no doctor. During emergency cases, a patient is usually flown out of the island for medical treatment.
Last week, a family of three was flown out of the island due to amoebiasis.
Bito-onon said that for the meantime, they would use their reserved bottled waters and also ask the residents to boil their water before drinking.
“We have also brought out our portable reverse osmosis machine,” he said.
Only this week, the island also received three hospital beds from civilian donors. This was the first time that the newly-renovated clinic will have hospital beds.
Pag-asa, a fifth class municipality, is the biggest of the islands and islets occupied by the Philippines in the disputed West Philippine Sea. AU
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