OUTBREAK OVER. The Davao City Health Office has declared the diarrhea outbreak in Toril District to be over as of Friday (July 29, 2022). Authorities confirmed the outbreak was due to a foodborne microorganism as they reported that 75 percent of the total cases have recovered. (PNA Photo by Robinson Niñal)

DAVAO CITY – The culprit of the diarrhea outbreak in Toril district here was due to food contamination, the City Health Office (CHO) said Friday.

“I announce that the diarrhea outbreak was due to a foodborne microorganism, with Vibrio cholera as the pathogen of concern. The most likely vehicle of transmission is contaminated food,” CHO acting chief Dr. Ashley Lopez said.

At least six infected persons died from the virus outbreak in Toril that began on July 15.

Lopez said a male patient was the latest fatality of the outbreak who died on July 24.

Rectal swabs done on the affected cases showed that 60 percent turned out positive in the bacteriological culture testing, he added.

Based on the CHO investigation, he said diarrhea patient cases have gone down to 217 cases as others that were previously recorded were not related to the outbreak.

Of the figure, 163 or 75 percent of the admitted cases have recovered.

“There are now only 11 individuals remaining, or 5 percent of the total affected cases in the hospitals being treated. Twenty-six cases were treated in the outpatient department of hospitals, while 11 other cases are still for verification,” he said.

Of all those infected, 41 percent had episodes of eating and drinking at food stalls in Rasay Street in Toril, while 21 percent of the cases ate and drank at the district’s public market.

The remaining 38 percent are from multiple sources but are statistically insignificant to be considered as exposure for cases.

“Based on investigations, food may have been contaminated during preparation and handling by infected handlers. It was also found that proper storage, delayed serving, and unsanitary environment may have contributed to the food contamination because of exposure to elements,” Lopez said.

Meanwhile, Toril Police Station Police chief Maj. Carol Jabagat said the city will not file any charges against the street vendors.
However, a policy will be released that will serve as the guidelines for the food establishments, she said.

Lopez advised those who drink water from open wells to boil their liquids for at least 10 minutes before consumption.

“The majority of those wells tested for microbial analysis (in Toril) turned out positive,” he said, adding the diarrhea outbreak has effectively ended in the affected area on Friday. (PNA)