VIGILANCE IS CURE: Mystery pneumonia could spook Dinagyang

Health officials are taking extra precaution to prevent the entry of the mysterious viral pneumonia which downed almost 60 persons in China since last week. The Iloilo airport caters to direct flights from Hong Kong and Singapore. (F. A. Angelo)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

Two weeks before the Dinagyang festival, health officials warned the public to be vigilant amid the outbreak of a mysterious viral pneumonia in China.

In a privilege speech, Councilor Alan Zaldivar chairman of the Committee on Health of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) pushed for screening and sanitation systems for local and foreign tourists who will join the Dinagyang revelry.

“As a neighboring country of China, we must be vigilant, be observant, and swiftly take necessary precautions since we could not put our own health and that of our fellow Ilonggos at risk. Our beloved city must be on close watch by setting up screening and sanitation system and urge the public to be alert on any pneumonia-like symptoms,” he said before the City Council on Thursday.

According to Zaldivar, local and foreign tourists will come in droves to experience the Dinagyang celebration.

Last December, Chinese state media reported a mysterious pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China. As of Thursday, 59 cases of unknown viral pneumonia have been reported.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO) symptoms of the pneumonia are mainly fever with a number of patients having difficulty in breathing, and chest radiographs showing invasive lesions on both lungs,” Zaldivar explained.

Department of Health-Center for Health Development in Western Visayas (DOH-CHD 6) said travelers in the region are also being checked by the Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ) on orders of Health Sec. Francisco Duque III.

“The Bureau of Quarantine had already been doing the control measures. They are on heightened alert on checking our travelers,” Dr. Jane Juanico, head for the infectious disease section of the DOH-CHD 6 said.

Meanwhile, Councilor Candice Tupas also urged to public the watch out for the signs and symptoms of pneumonia and seek early consultation.

“When you experience any signs and symptoms of pneumonia, you should immediately go to the doctor for consultation,” she said. (With a report from Philippine News Agency)