FOOD POISONING DUE TO BAD WATER?: Some water sources in Iloilo town contaminated with E.coli 

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By John Noel E. Herrera

Some water sources in Ajuy, Iloilo, specifically near the Pili National High School, where the incident of food poisoning that caused the death of one student and hospitalization of 44 others happened, have tested positive for E.coli and coliform bacteria.

Iloilo Provincial Health Office’s (IPHO) Dr. Rodney Labis said that based on the water testing conducted by the Rural Health Unit of Ajuy, some water samples from stores near the school were contaminated.

“Nagconduct kita water sample testing sa mga ginabaligyaan sang tubig kag ice sa palibot sang eskwelahan, kag ang resulta sini may mga ara nga mga contaminant sa mga water samples nga nakuha kag hindi safe for drinking ang water source sang mga water samples nga nakolekta,” Labis said.

Labis also revealed that out of 26 patients subjected to fecalysis, 25 were positive for amoebiasis, an infection of the intestines caused by a parasitic amoeba.

“Ang posible nga ara sa buko pandan juice nga gin-inom sang mga affected nga individuals nga pwede makontaminado sang amoeba, amu ang ice,” Labis said.

It was reported on Nov 5, 2022 that a student from Pili National High School in Ajuy, Iloilo died due to food poisoning caused by a “bad buko pandan juice”, while others, including some teachers, got sick and experienced stomach ache and vomiting.

The PHO personnel together with the Ajuy RHU also collected stool specimens from the patients and brought them to Manila for confirmatory testing and to find out what other possible agents contributed to the symptoms felt by the patients.

Labis also said that the Ajuy RHU will be the one responsible for managing the water disinfection and advocacy activities on proper sanitation and water safety in the town.

“The Provincial Health Office (PHO) will also provide technical assistance, mabulig sa capacitation sang health workers sa Rural Health Units on how to implement proper water and sanitation program,” Labis added.

Labis also reminded everyone to sanitize properly and make sure that what they are eating is clean and not contaminated to avoid food poisoning.

“Dapat naga-observe kita sang proper hand hygiene regularly, especially before kita mag-kaon kag after mag-gamit sang toilet. Make sure nga ang gina-inom nga tubig and water sources tinlo and safe. Ang mga pagkaon parehas sang prutas, karne, isda, hugasan maayo antis lutu-on,” Labis added.

As of Nov 11, the food poisoning incident affected 45 individuals with one death. Three are still admitted and 41 have already been discharged from the hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd)-6 also started investigating the food poisoning incident as the agency has already tasked its legal unit to look into the matter as it worked closely with the local health authorities.

“The school, together with the Schools Division Office of Iloilo, is currently in coordination with the Rural Health Unit of Ajuy to address the needs of the affected learners and personnel, and to conduct further investigation on the case,” the DepEd-6 said.

The local government of Ajuy also pledged to pay all the hospital bills of the victims and provide financial assistance to the family of the deceased student, while the Pili National High School personnel and nearby public schools of Ajuy, Iloilo also gave financial assistance to the victims.