Food and water-borne diseases rise in 2023

MANILA – All but one of the food and water-borne diseases regularly tracked by the Department of Health (DOH) have seen a rise in cases from January 1 to March 18, 2023 compared to the same period last year.

According to the DOH, acute bloody diarrhea, rotavirus and typhoid fever have risen by 101 percent, 123 percent and 101 percent, respectively this year.

Acute viral hepatitis rose by 20 percent while hepatitis A increased by 67 percent.

Cholera, on the other hand, which caused an outbreak in some parts of the Visayas decreased by 6 percent.

Food and water-borne diseases are most common during the dry season because of a myriad of factors including water shortage and food spoilage.

But DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the increased surveillance this year has also contributed to more detections.

“Kailangan i-consider din natin, during the first 2 years of the pandemic or even 2022, the focus of surveillance were mostly channeled for COVID-19,” she said.

“Pangalawa, ngayong lumalabas ‘yung mga issues on water, shortage of water, walang tubig sa iba-ibang lugar. At nakikita natin ang mga kababayan na nag-iipon ng tubig, most of the time, itong preparation and storage of water sometimes causes illnesses.”

The health official said that greater mobility among the public is also seen to contribute to higher numbers.

The DOH underscores the importance of ensuring safe water sources especially if used for food or drinking.

Safe food handling and food preparation must also be a common practice to avoid the risk of gastrointestinal diseases.