11 December 2015
Dear Xavier School Nuvali Parents,
The significant number of XSN students who experienced gastrointestinal difficulties last December 7, 2015, Monday, led school authorities to immediately conduct an epidemiological investigation to determine possible causes of such incidence. The study was undertaken with the assistance of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the Department of Health.
Data was gathered from two groups of students/adults (cases and controls). Data was analyzed using a public health statistical software.
Water samples were also collected from all drinking fountains and cafeteria faucets. Stool and vomit samples were collected and analyzed. All samples were submitted to the Microbiology and Virology laboratories of the RITM.
A food item (ice cream) was found to be a probable risk factor, which means that those who consumed this food item were more likely to exhibit gastrointestinal symptoms. However, it should also be noted that not all medical cases attended to in the school infirmary were related to ingestion of this food item. Further, many people consumed the food item and did not fall ill.
The preliminary results of the water testing are negative for bacteria that could cause gastrointestinal infection.
The RITM report recommended the following:
- Continuous cleaning and disinfection of all areas within the school campus. Over the weekend, this will be done to ensure that the school environment will remain to be a safe place for our students.
- Immediate communication to the food supplier to provide recommendations regarding food handling, storage and transport, and other related practices and procedures. This process is now underway.
- Disseminate information the school community regarding hand washing, and the basics of food safety at home and in school. Please refer to information sources from:
Department of Health – www.doh.gov.ph/node/373
World Health Organization – www.who.int/foodsafety
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- www.cdc.gov/foodsafety
We would like to thank Dr. Betsy Miranda, consultant at the RITM, Dr. Concepcion Roces, former director of the National Epidemiology Center of the DOH, and the professionals at the RITM for undertaking the laboratory diagnostics and the biostatistical analysis with great urgency.
We would also like to thank the members of the school community for cooperating with the school to ensure that we all learn from the experience, especially as we plan future activities.
Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, SJ