DOH reveals 53 schisto endemic barangays in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY – About 53 of Bukidnon’s 464 barangays are endemic to schistosomiasis with five of these villages considered “highly endemic” or with 10 percent and above infection rate, according to a report released by the Department of Health Bukidnon Schistosomiasis Control Office.

This number is 13.2 more barangays than it was 2006’s 46 villages, when Bukidnon had the lowest infection rate, 2.63 percent, in a span of 10 years.

Bukidnon had an infection rate of 3.5 percent in 2010, down from 15.81 percent in 1981, a record high in the province.

The five barangays were identified from the top as San Isidro, Valencia City; San Jose, San Fernando; San Martin, Malaybalay City; Can-ayan, Malaybalay City; and Dagatkidavao, Valencia City.

About 13 barangays were listed in the “moderately endemic” or those with 5 to 9.99 percent infection rate.

A barangay can be included in the “endemic areas” when the DOH verifies the presence of infected snails or a confirmed schistosomiasis case, according to Dr. Vincent Raguro, who heads DOH’s schistosomiasis control office, based in Malaybalay City.

Bangcud, home of the controversial schistosomiasis-infected spring resort in Malaybalay City, is among the 35 barangays considered as “low endemic“ with below 5 percent infection rate.

Only two of the resort’s 11 springs are infected as of March 2011. But Raguro said it means the whole resort is still infected and cannot be cleared from schistosomiasis. He said it is dangerous that it has become a tourist attraction despite its declaration as “infected” spring.

“Even if the visitors just wade in the water, they stand the risk of infection,” he added.

Raguro said the higher number of endemic barangays is a sign of the effort to treat the disease. He added that they conduct, upon request of the endemic barangays, a once a year mass treatment.

Raguro said all of the 53 endemic barangays have requested mass treatment even if he cited difficulty in an earlier interview about some sort of resistance in Bangcud. He said all barangays have cooperated, at difference level of cooperation.

But he said the DOH target for the province of cutting the infection rate down to 1 percent is “difficult to achieve.”

Raguro said Schistosoma japonicum parasite-carrying snails dwells in “clear, clean, cool” waters like Matin-ao springs.

Her said humans and animals can get the Schistosoma japonicum parasite through simple washing of hands and feet, bath or just passing by the infested streams.

But he said schistosomiasis is a curable tropical disease. He dded that the disease does not kill, but its complications does.
In 2010, Raguro’s team examined 13,877 stool samples and found 495 to be positive of schistosomiasis. About 330 or 67 percent of the positive cases were males.

Valencia and Malaybalay cities own up more than half of the barangays with endemic cases, 17 and 16 barangays respectively.
In 2010, the barangays with the most number of cases from the endemic areas are San Jose, San Fernando (54), Mapolo, Malaybalay City (41), and Kahaponan, Valencia City (37).

The DOH did not disclose Bukidnon’s ranking in Mindanao as of Wednesday last week. But he said Mindanao owns 80 percent of schistosomiasis in the Philippines, 5 percent in the Visayas, and 15 in Luzon.

He attributed the big number of cases to the amount of rainfall in Mindanao and the fact that it is the biggest island in the country. (Walter I. Balane)

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One Response

  1. “Raguro said the higher number of endemic barangays is a sign of the effort to treat the disease. He added that they conduct, upon request of the endemic barangays, a once a year mass treatment”. —– based on the statement, they conduct treatment if the barangays ask for it, how about health information, education, schistosomiasis preventive efforts? Are they conducting such activities too?

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