Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cerebral malaria strikes Olongapo

Editor's Note: Published on Page A8 of the July 21, 2205 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO-At least 276 people at the outskirts of Olongapo City were stricken with malaria, most of them infected with the deadly cerebral strain, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday after two weeks of blood smear tests in that city.

The number of cases, especially of cerebral malaria (248 cases), in the city's five upland villages was "unusually high" but no victim died in recent days, Dr. Juvencio Ordoña, DOH director in Central Luzon told the Inquirer.

"We are surprised by the big number, but this is no outbreak. We learned of the cases through an extensive check with the city health office which reported the incidents [on July 7]. As we suspected, this went on for some time. The residents have developed strong resistance against the disease," he said.

The parasite species Plasmodium falciparum, which causes cerebral malaria, was confirmed positive in 90 percent of the cases, according to a report from the DOH's malaria prevention and control center.

Barangay New Cabalan recorded the highest number of malaria cases at 236, the report showed. There were 21 cases in Gordon Heights, nine in Old Cabalan, eight in Banaelto and two in Mabayuan.

Most of the victims live near the Bangad River and its creeks, and in forested areas.

People with malaria suffer chills, fever and extensive sweating. At its worst stage, patients experience anemia and enlargement of the spleen.

The situation, Ordoña said, was "already under control," citing the provision of anti-malaria treatment and insecticide-treated mosquito nets to victims.

The DOH team also sprayed the houses with insecticides. The river and creeks were treated with larvicide to eliminate breeding sites.

The team recommended malaria control measures and the creation of surveillance units.

The malaria cases in Olongapo City this month surpassed the 244 cases recorded in six Central Luzon provinces from January to March this year, DOH records showed.


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