At least 67 people have died from cholera, an acute diarrhea illness, in the Philippines since January this year as cases rose by 282 percent compared with last year, the Philippine government said Sunday.

Iran PressAsia: The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) has tallied 5,860 cholera cases from January to Nov. 26 this year. The agency attributed the increase in cases to natural calamities that buffeted the Southeast Asian country.

The Eastern Visayas region in the central Philippines recorded the highest number of cases, with over 3,600, followed by the Davao region in the southern Philippines, with over 800 cases, and the Central Luzon region, north of Manila, with over 300 cases.

The DOH added that the 67 cholera deaths recorded since January this year are 0.8 percent higher than last year.

Maria Rosario Vergeire, the DOH officer-in-charge, said that the health department has strengthened its surveillance and response system amid the spiking of cholera cases across the archipelago.

"The DOH has been working urgently to improve our systems to lease the impact of natural disasters on our nation's health," Vergeire added.

To reduce the number of deaths, she said the health department has assisted areas with high cholera cases to ensure patients have access to treatments and clean drinking water.

According to Xinhua, due to its geographic circumstances, the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. As one of the countries most affected by extreme climate events, the World Bank said the Philippines has experienced highly destructive typhoons almost annually for the past 10 years.

Cholera is a disease caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Typhoons and other natural calamities, such as earthquakes, floods, and landslides, often destroy villages' water sources.


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