2 more die, 66 hospitalized in cholera outbreak in Maguindanao

Health workers in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Monday said two fisherfolks have died in an outbreak of cholera in an island village in Maguindanao.

Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr., ARMM health secretary, said it was cholera, and not diarrhea outbreak, that hit the village of Toka Marror, Bongo island, Parang, Maguindanao.

The village, which is located off Maguindanao facing the Moro Gulf, had no electric and water facilities. The first fatality, who died four days ago, was a three-year-old girl who had severe vomiting and loose bowel movement.

On Sunday, a 33-year-old fisherman, died of severe vomiting and stomach disorder, according to Sinolinding. He added that one unidentified fisherman also died from cholera on Sunday.

"Both expired at the hospital," according to Maguindanao health chief Dr. Tahir Sulaik. Sinolinding said water with human and animal wastes contaminated the sources of drinking water of the more than 1,800 residents of Barangay Toka Marror.

Residents earlier claimed it was a case of diarrhea since many of the children were dehydrated due to loose bowel movement.

According to the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center here where all the patients were confined, they have recorded 68 admitted patients, 51 of whom were children.

Sinolinding said five health workers, composed of a three midwives and epidemiologists, have been assigned to the island village to continue monitoring the situation and educate the villagers.

He also assured residents that there were enough medicines and technical assistance to patients for their early recovery. Monina Macarongon, an aide to Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, said the provincial governor released Monday an initial amount of P50,000 cash assistance for the patients admitted at the CRMC.

Following the incident, Mangudadatu and partymate in the Liberal Party Mayor Ibrahim Ibay have agreed to conduct a joint study on viability of a water system project that will benefit the people.

Sinolinding said health workers are now engaged in massive information campaign to educate residents of Bongo how to effectively prevent the spread of Cholera and other diseases in Barangay Toka Marror, which is a two-hour by boat from mainland Mindanao.