Typhoid outbreak due to contaminated spring water

By Eldie Aguirre, Orlando Dinoy
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 08:17pm (Mla time) 07/14/2007

DIGOS CITY—The typhoid fever outbreak that has affected at least six villages in nearby Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, has been traced to a spring water impounding project where residents draw their drinking water, officials said on Saturday.


Mahelinde Colminares, Davao del Sur health chief, said water samples taken from the spring in sitio Ragobrob in Saliducon village turned out positive for salmonella typhosa, a type of bacteria that causes typhoid fever.


“The water from that spring is not potable,” she said.


Colminares said that because of this, they have advised residents of barangay Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone4, Tuban and Tagabuli to refrain from drawing water there.


At least 200 people have been affected by the outbreak that started three weeks ago.


She said if they have no other sources, they should first boil the water tapped from the spring for about three hours before drinking it.


Asked about the possible cause of the contamination, Colminares said they found out that residents near the spring failed to practice proper waste disposal.


She said bacteria that grow on human wastes could seep underground and contaminate water sources, especially if these are near the surface.


But Mayor Joel Ray Lopez has another theory.


While agreeing that proper sanitation could help in securing water sources from contamination, Lopez blamed bad politics for the plight of the residents.


He said the administration of his predecessor, Jerome Undalok, had rushed the opening of the Urban Water Project during the campaign period.


“It was set to be open in September yet but former officials wanted to propel their candidacy even if they knew that the filtration and the chlorination systems have yet to be completed,” he said.


But residents refused to believe the bad politics angle.


They said even before the water impounding project was implemented, they have already been drawing water from the said spring.

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