Stopping a child killer
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Department of Health has announced that there are milder forms of the deadly virus that has killed many children in Cambodia that exists in the Philippines. The DOH reported that enterovirus 71 (EV-71) infections have been occurring in the country, although reported only intermittently, and the deadlier strain that has been found in Cambodia is still very rare.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona explained that the virus, excreted in human feces, causes different diseases of varying intensity, including the usually mild hand-foot-and mouth disease, acute respiratory disease, acute flaccid paralysis, and the deadly brainstem encephalitis that has caused the death of more than 50 children in Cambodia. The Cambodian victims experienced fever followed by rapid respiratory deterioration and impaired consciousness. Death usually occurred 24 hours after hospital confinement.
The Philippines is currently believed to be free of the deadly strain of EV-71 but Sec. Ona has directed all hospitals and health providers in the country to report all possible EV-71 infections to the DOH. The health department is also advising the public, especially those with infants, to properly dispose of baby diapers or human waste, to observe strict personal hygiene and observe regular hand-washing to prevent the spread of the virus. Parents and daycare personnel have been advised to clean and disinfect toys and teaching tools that are easily shared among children to prevent EV-71 infections that currently have no known effective drugs or vaccines. Parents whose children are suffering from high fever, vomiting, lethargy and weakness should not hesitate to seek medical help to rule out any possible EV-71 infections.
One of the drawbacks of living in a world that has been made smaller by cheaper air travel is that it is easier for the deadly strain of the EV-71 that killed more than 50 children in Cambodia to reach the Philippines. Screening incoming passengers in all international airports will help but the bottom line is that parents, teachers, and health workers will have to be extra careful, vigilant and wary if we are to prevent this deadly child killer spreading into our and threatening our own children.*