Acute diarrhea suspects in Cordillera drop by 20 percent

The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) disclosed that the number of acute diarrhea suspects in the region for the first sixteen weeks of this year dropped by twenty percent compared to the figures that were recorded during the same reckoning period last year.

Based on a report obtained from the DOH-CAR’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit (RESU), there were some 401 acute diarrhea suspects that were reported by the different district health units in the region for the first 16 weeks of this year compared to the 551 cases that were reported during the same period last year.

Karen Lonogan, senior health program officer of the DOH-CAR-RESU), revealed that there was one reported death due to acute diarrhea this year compared to the zero diarrhea-related deaths last year.

The acute bloody diarrhea cases were reported in Benguet with 206 cases, Mountain Province – 119 cases, Ifugao – 53 cases, Baguio City – 48 cases, Kalinga – 4 cases, Abra and Apayao with 2 cases each and non-CAR provinces – 6 cases.

According to the report, there were more males that were affected with acute bloody diarrhea and that the age range of the patients range from 1 month to 102 years old with a median of 7 years.

Furthermore, laboratory results show that entamoeba histolytica was the most common microorganism seen from the stools that were submitted by the patients for analysis.

At the same time, Lonogan reported that clustering of acute diarrhea cases were noted in Benguet and Mountain Province during the said period that raised concern among health authorities to intensify their information and education campaign against the said illness.

Diarrhea stools are those that take shape of the container, so they are often described as loose or watery. Some people consider diarrhea as an increase in the number of stools, but stool consistency is really the hallmark. Associated symptoms can include abdominal cramps fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and urgency. Chronic diarrhea can be accompanied by weight loss, malnutrition, abdominal pain or other symptoms of the underling illness. Clues for organic disease are weight loss, diarrhea that wakes you up at night, or blood in the stools. These are signs that your doctor will want to do a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of your symptoms. Also tell your doctor if you have a family history of celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), have unintentional weight loss, fever, abdominal cramping or decreased appetite. Tell your doctor if you experience bulky, greasy or very bad smelling stools.

Most cases of acute, watery diarrhea are caused by viruses (viral gastroenteritis). The most common ones in children are rotavirus and in adults are norovirus (this is sometimes called “cruise ship diarrhea” due to well publicized epidemics). Bacteria are a common cause of traveler’s diarrhea.

Chronic diarrhea is classified as fatty or malabsorption, inflammatory or most commonly watery. Chronic bloody diarrhea may be due to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. Other less common causes include ischemia of the gut, infections, radiation therapy and colon cancer or polyps. Infections leading to chronic diarrhea are uncommon, with the exception of parasites. - Dexter A. See