The Department of Health (DOH) declared a diarrhea outbreak declared in Davao Occidental on Sunday.

Local health authorities are looking at contaminated water as the source of the outbreak. 

A total of 34 residents of Barangay Butuan, Jose Abad Santos were hospitalized. The DOH said three people have been reported dead due to the outbreak. 

Municipal health officer Dr. Amparo Lachica said “the probable source of infection is through contaminated water” after doing an initial investigation. 

“A team from the RESU (Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit) is set to visit the affected barangay to collect appropriate specimens and continue the investigation together,” the DOH said in a statement.

The health department said its regional office has already distributed medicines and IV fluids to the Tomas Lachica District Hospital, where the surge of diarrhea patients were admitted. Water storage cans and chlorine granules for the affected barangay were also given. 

“DOH would like to reiterate to the public once again the importance of safe-drinking water, use of improved sanitation, and hand washing with soap can reduce the risk of diarrhea,” it said.

“If anyone is experiencing three or more loose or liquid stools per day, this must be reported immediately to the nearest facility for immediate health interventions,” the DOH added. RJ Espartinez