Health execs allay fears of Nipah outbreak in CDO

Health officials in Northern Mindanao (Region 10) assured the public that there are no incidents of Nipah virus (NiV) amid the trend of fever cases in schools. Dr. Rachel Dilla, city health officer, said as per the Department of Health (DOH) report, there are no cases of the Nipah virus in the city. “Nevertheless, we’re conducting surveillance. We are appealing to the schools to report to us cases of headaches and other flu-like symptoms,” Dilla said in a statement on Tuesday. Dilla encouraged people to wear face masks, wash their hands frequently and practice proper cough etiquette. Her statement was in response to several schools in the city directing teachers and students to revert to online classes as a result of increase cases of fever or flu-like symptoms. Dr. Elenietta Gamolo, DOH-10 officer-in-charge, said they will collaborate with the City Health Office regarding the occurrence of fever in schools. However, Gamolo reiterated that the region has not had any reported cases of the NiV. “Nipah virus was first discovered in 1999 following an outbreak of diseases in pigs and people in Malaysia and Singapore,” Gamolo said, adding that recently, the Nipah outbreak in India involved five cases. NiV is usually transmitted from animals to humans, and people can become infected if they have close contact with an infected animal or its body fluids. House Deputy Majority Leader Janette Garin of Iloilo Province’s First District, a former DOH secretary, said the Philippines is not new to NiV, as the country had cases in 2014 with documented transmission from fruit bats to horses to humans in which the feeds of horses were contaminated with bat urine and secretions. ‘Resilient as we are, we were able to contain it. I have strong faith in our experts, but information from them should be ‘laymanized’ to the public,’ Garin said in a radio interview on Monday

Source: Philippines News Agency