By Jesusa S. Avena
The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) of Cagayan spearheaded a fecal collection among cows and carabaos for the examination of Schistosoma parasites. The activity was conducted in coordination with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the Department of Health, Municipal Agriculturist Office of Gonzaga and the University of the Philippines College of Health at barangay Tapel, Gonzaga, Cagayan on July 9-11, 2013.
According to Dr. Jaime Guillermo, Provincial Veterinarian, Schistosoma parasites cause Schistosomiasis diseases among cows and carabaos which can cause deaths to human and animals. He said that Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that affects domestic animals and humans caused by the organism Schistosoma spp.
“Schistosomiasis severely affects animals. When they are hit with the disease, they deteriorate rapidly and usually die within a few months of infection, while those less heavily infected develop chronic disease with growth retardation,” Dr. Guillermo added.
Meanwhile in an interview with Dr. Daria Manalo, Supervising Science Research Specialist of the RITM during the activity, she explained the procedure in the examination of the feces collected. She said that they will conduct processing of the fecal samples through Formalin Ethyl Acetate Sedimentation Digestion Technique, after which the samples will be forwarded to the Regional Animal Diagnostic Disease Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture for examination.
Research conducted by the RITM showed that in the Philippines, there were 28 provinces out of the 79 provinces in the country particularly in rice fields and areas with bodies of water that were affected with the disease.
Gonzaga was the only endemic area in Northern Luzon. A baseline survey on the prevalence of Schistosoma parasites was conducted in 2002 wherein the said parasite was reported to be endemic in Gonzaga. Stool examination was conducted by the RITM confirmed the presence of Schistosomiasis infection in animals in the said municipality. The percentage of animals that tested positive in the two barangays; Magrafil (carabaos-72.2%, cattles-43.2% and dogs-56.3%) and Sta. Maria (carabaos-54.4%, cattles-17.3% and dogs-11.5).
Last July 2-5, 2013, an Information Education and Communication (IEC) Campaign was conducted by the PVO to promote awareness on the said disease in barangays Tapel, Sta. Maria and Magrafil in the municipality of Gonzaga.
In line with this, a culminating activity was conducted on July 23, 2013 at Tapel, Gonzaga wherein Schistosomiasis Intervention activities was conducted in celebration of the Schistosomiasis Awareness Month in July. Participants were different agencies and stakeholders. The activity aimed to control and eradicate the disease in Gonzaga.
PVO staff headed by Veterinarian II Dr. Wilfredo Iquin also administered vitamins during the activity to boost the immunity of the large ruminants (cows and carabaos) against diseases and parasites.