A health team has been dispatched to a village in Oas town, Albay province to verify a suspected cholera outbreak after a woman died and more than a hundred people were taken ill. 

Badian village chairman Henry Monteveros said most of the victims suffered from severe stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by the vibrio cholerae bacteria in faecally-contaminated water or food. The disease is mainly linked to lack of access to safe water and sanitation.

Some of the victims were brought to the Pio Duran Memorial District Hospital, Pantao District Hospital, and in Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital.

Oas municipal health officer Dr Jane Revereza confirmed the death of Crizelda Imperial, 43 years old, according to an Inquirer report.

“Patients are confined and are still being treated in different hospitals in Albay," Dr Revereza reported, adding, "So far, we asked villagers not to fetch and drink water from the deep well anymore.”

Local officials suspected the Badian village’s main water source, a deep well, to be contaminated. The village itself is near the sea and residents rely on the deep well for their drinking water.  

Acting Provincial Health Officer Dr Antonio Ludovice said an investigation team has already been sent to the village to conduct disease surveillance. Likewise, the local agency is calling on the village residents to refrain from panicking and ensure the safety of their drinking water.

The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol is also closely monitoring the cases.

Oas Mayor Domingo Escoto Jr, meanwhile, said that they could declare a state of emergency in more cases are reported.

Cholera presents with sudden diarrhoea (rice water stool) and causes severe fluid loss with a rate of 1 liter per hour, according to Mayo Clinic, as well as nausea and vomiting. Dehydration could develop within hours after symptoms show.

Sources include well water, seafood, raw fruits and vegetables in endemic areas where infected manure fertilizers and irrigation water can contaminate the produce. MIMS

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