Claims circulating on social media that the recent outbreak of diarrhea in Toril and Matina districts in Davao City was caused by water contamination is partly false and needs context.
Several Facebook pages and users cautioned residents in those areas against drinking water directly from the tap operated by the Davao City Water District (DCWD) allegedly because of contamination.
A user posted:
“Please be reminded…
Matina to Toril, AMOEBIASIS OUTBREAK po, suka kalibang please mag amping ang tanan. Ayaw sa mog inom sa mga tap water. Kung mahimo pabukali daan ang tubig. Daghan cases sa atong lugar. Puno puno tanan ang hospitals. God bless us all
(There’s an outbreak of amoebiasis from Toril to Matina, with patients suffering from diarrhea and vomiting. Please take care. Don’t drink tap water. If you drink, boil the water. There are plenty of cases in our areas and hospitals are filled up.)”
A post on July 17 by 91.5 Brigada News FM-Davao brought up the viral online complaints and asked its followers whether their tap water had made them ill.
“TAP WATER DAOT? Wala-tuo karon ang mabasang reklamo sa tubig gikan sa gripo sa nagkadaiyang dapit sa Davao City nga matud pa makadaot og tiyan? (Tap water contaminated? Lots of complaints regarding tap water in different parts of Davao City that allegedly causes stomach ache?)”
The Brigada post, as of 27 July, has gathered 398 reactions, 158 comments and 348 shares.
During the same day, the City Government of Davao has confirmed the diarrhea cases only in Toril District, and not in Matina, and that it has been providing assistance to the patients.
For its part, the DCWD denied that there was contamination of its water supply in the aforesaid areas.
The DCWD said the investigation of its water sources in Toril and Matina revealed that its chlorination facilities were working 100%, and the chlorine residual was within the normal limits of 0.8 parts per million which could eliminate bacteria that could cause waterborne diseases, including diarrhea.
On 28 July, the City Health Office (CHO) cleared DCWD’s water pipes of being contaminated before the metering devices, with cases of diarrhea attributed mostly to food-borne bacteria, and some due to broken water connections after the metering devices. https://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2022/07/contaminated-street-food-caused-diarrhea-outbreak-in-davao-health-official/
The outbreak affected multiple barangays in Toril with a validated number of 217 cases and six deaths as of 28 July.
In a statement, the CHO cautioned the public against eating street foods that are not properly handled, as it echoed the findings of the DCWD that the water supply in those areas is not contaminated and is safe for drinking.
“Testing showed that water samples taken for microbial analysis before the metering devices are negative of bacteria, but water samples taken after the metering devices have statistically significant number of positive results,” Dr. Ashley Lopez, acting city health officer, said.
He noted that a number of diarrhea cases occurred in pipelines after the metering devices that were submerged in dirty or canal water.
As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact-check stories. (Yas D. Ocampo / MindaNews)
(This fact-check piece was produced with the support of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator Project.)