DOH tracing norovirus cases in Zamboanga
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Health (DOH) is investigating the cause of the outbreak of norovirus in Zamboanga City, Health Secretary Janette Garin said yesterday.

“We want to know how it started? Has norovirus been here even before, or someone brought it here? Contact tracing is being conducted to identify the index case,” Garin told a press briefing.

Garin said the outbreak was detected when an increase in diarrhea cases was recorded at the Zamboanga City Medical Center.  

At least four persons reportedly died and over 700 others, including children, were hospitalized in Zamboanga City due to norovirus.

Norovirus is “very contagious” and can be acquired from an infected person and contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus causes the stomach or intestines or both to become inflamed, resulting in stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea, it said. 

Garin assured the public that the DOH is coordinating with the Zamboanga City health office in implementing measures to control the outbreak.

“What is important now is to observe personal hygiene.  We always have to wash our hands properly, especially after using the toilet. As of now, we have not established if the cause (of the outbreak) was improper hygiene or water,” Garin said.

The DOH allocated P5 million to assist patients and distribute water containers in affected communities.

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