by Mira Nicole Magbanua and Julius Mariveles
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Public health officials here are bracing against an outbreak of cholera, raising a threshold alert level after the first positive case was reported here.
In Mansilingan, one of the most populated villages here that is already facing increased dengue fever cases, four artesian wells were tested positive for E.coli bacteria.
The wells in the community of Laurel are public sources of potable and washing water.
The four wells included the one inside the property of Cholera Patient 1, a woman aged 37 who was discharged last week from a hospital after showing signs of cholera, including vomiting and severe diarrhea.
Norlo Gonzales, an assistant of Mansilingan village chief Rodolfo Pico, told DNX the four wells have been closed and will be chlorinated tomorrow.
Local public health chief Ma Carmeli Gensoli said the discovery of the four wells as laced with E. coli is not really a “scary and dangerous” development.
She pointed out E.coli, a bacteria that occurs naturally in the human intestines, does not cause cholera though it can cause problems if its level is “beyond normal.”
Online resource WebMD describes the bacteria as “harmless and even help keep your digestive tract healthy” but some strains can cause diarrhea if a person eats contaminated food or drink fouled water.
Gensoli pointed out, however, that cholera is caused by a different bacteria, Vibrio cholerae, as she advised residents to be hygienic, like washing hands before eating, and drinking water only from safe and reliable sources like those from commercial sellers.