Bacolod City records rising rotavirus cases in kids under 5 years old

By Nanette Guadalquiver

April 1, 2024, 7:59 pm

BACOLOD CITY – Cases of rotavirus, the most common cause of severe diarrhea among children below five years old, have continued to increase in this city in the past three months.

From Jan. 1 to March 23, a total of 101 cases were recorded, of which 31 were already confirmed, data from the City Health Office (CHO) on Monday showed.

In the first three weeks of the year, or during the period Jan. 1 to 20, only 24 suspected cases were listed.

Last month, seven new cases were reported from March 17 to 23 alone.

In a report, the CHO said that risk factors for rotavirus include poor sanitation and hygiene leading to contamination of food and water as well as low rotavirus vaccination coverage in the under-five-year-old population.

The vaccine is considered the best protection against infection. However, rotavirus shots have been unavailable in the city for several years now, said Dr. Grace Tan, head of the CHO Environment Sanitation Division.

Data further showed eight of the 61 villages in the city recorded the highest number of cases -- Banago, 10; Alijis, Bata and Mandalagan, 7 each; Villamonte, Mansilingan and Vista Alegre, 6 each; and Taculing, 5.

In 2023, some 312 rotavirus cases, including 32 confirmed cases and six deaths, were reported by the CHO.

Barangay Banago also topped the number of cases last year, with 32 cases, including one death.

Statistics of the World Health Organization showed rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in infants and children, resulting in the deaths of about 600,000 children and over two million hospitalizations worldwide each year.

It added that “recurrence of infections with different viral strains is possible, and approximately all children have had a rotavirus infection by the time they are five years of age”.

Meanwhile, the CHO also recorded 36 cases of acute gastroenteritis considered as cholera suspects, including three deaths, from Jan. 1 to March 23.

The identified risk factors include the use of contaminated water in containers for dishwashing, personal hygiene and drinking, use of untreated or unchlorinated water supply, eating inadequately cooked foods and not practicing proper hand hygiene. (PNA)