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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Gov’t told: Do info campaign on Nipah virus

A House leader yesterday urged the public “not to panic” over the Nipah virus even as she urged the government to issue official reports and safety precautions to prevent its spread in the country.

Deputy Majority Leader Janette Garin, a former health secretary, said the public must be informed about the virus and its symptoms.

“There should be actual and reliable information to the general public without being an alarmist so people won’t be scared. Instead they should know the truth and why this is happening,” she said in a statement.

The lawmaker also called for the immediate collaboration between the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) for aggressive surveillance.

“From Ebola to Zika to MERSCOV to COVID-19 to Nipah. These overemphasize the need to prioritize Surveillance Centers in each DOH Regional Hospital immediately. Little investment in the office and experts can go a long way,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Nipah virus is usually transmitted from animals to humans.

Garin said the NiV is not new to the Philippines as the country had cases in 2014 with documented transmission from fruit bats to horses to humans, in which the feeds of horses were contaminated with bat urine and secretions.

“Resilient as we are, we were able to contain it. It was one of my ‘baptism of fire’ when I joined DOH. I have strong faith in our experts, but information from them should be laymanized to the public,” the lawmaker said.

“Washing fruits and vegetables should not be taken for granted. Frequent handwashing with soap and water. Proper hygiene. These are lifesaving measures that should always be remembered and never to be forgotten,” Garin said.

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