Cassava cake made from tapioca (balanghoy) sold in Toril district is being eyed as a potential culprit behind the diarrhea outbreak that downed more than a hundred people in several barangays south of the city proper.
A number of the victims said that they have eaten tapioca before experiencing diarrhea, said Acting City Health Officer Dr. Ashley Lopez, in an interview on the Davao City Disaster Radio on Tuesday two days after the outbreak was reported on February 16.
CHO confirmed Wednesday the death of a 10-year-old boy due to severe dehydration in the diarrhea outbreak that affected 147 people since July 16.
Lopez said that the CHO investigation on the cause of the outbreak showed that food ingested by the patients before they fell ill included potemtially spoiled cassava cake, kwek-wek (fried flour-wrapped egg) and other street foods sold in Toril food stalls.
Hit by the outbreak were the villages of Bato, Toril Proper, Crossing Bayabas, Lubogan, Mulig, Daliaon Plantation, Tungkalan, Daliao North, Daliao South, Lizada fish port, Lizada Kurbada, and Binugao.
A source inside CHO who begged anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter said that an investigaitoin is now being conducted on a large Toril-based cassava cake factory whose product is massively distributed throughout Toril district.
The source did not name the manufacturer of the hot-selling delicacy sold in restaurants, carenderias and small food stalls and could not say if the cassava cakes came from the factory.
CHO also said it is less likely that Davao City Water District’s (DCWD) water could have caused the diarrhea outbreak. The water utility firm said tests immediately conducted following report of the outbreak showed no contamination in its water system in the affected barangays.