Dr. Marilou C. Elago, Coordinating Dean of the WMSU Graduate School, presented a study on Norovirus-Rotavirus Outbreak in the city during the 11th Asia-Pacific Bio-Safety Association (APBA) Annual Conference in Cambodia last May 30-June 3, 2016.
The collaborative study entitled “Norovirus-Rotavirus Outbreak in Zamboanga City, Philippines” discusses how these viruses impacted the health of the residents especially the children in the city and what actions were taken to stop the Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) epidemic caused by these viruses. Most especially, it talks about the possibility of these microorganisms to be used as a risk to bio-safety and bio-security in the city.
Norovirus Infection is a highly contagious disease. A person can get norovirus from contaminated food and water or by simply touching an infected person or surfaces. These result to vomiting and/or diarrhea, other foodborne-disease outbreaks and can even lead to serious complications and death.
According to Dr. Elago, who is also the Founding President of the Philippine Bio-Safety and Bio-Security Association- Western Mindanao Chapter, it is necessary to determine whether these microorganisms can be used as a weapon for mass destruction especially with the insurgencies that occurred in the city.
The study proposes that the City Health Office should enhance health advocacy on water boiling with hygiene and sanitation; improve sanitary and hygienic practices, actively promote adherence to hand hygiene among healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors in patient care areas; and perform routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched environmental surfaces and equipment in health facilities. Dr. Elago also strongly recommends a Septage Management Promotion Campaign that aims to educate the community by reaching out to the grassroots level.
This study is a joint effort of Dr. Marilou Elago, Dr. Ruby Constantino from Department of Health (DOH), Maxel Bermas from Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU), Dr. Romeo Ong and Dr. Norvie T. Jalani from Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), Dr. Rosemarie Arciaga, and Dorothy Aicha Sale from WMSU Graduate Studies. (Liezel M. Parreño, PAO)