The City of San Juan is free of cholera contamination, government agencies said, as the owner of a restaurant accused on social media of making its diners sick with the disease said it passed at least two sanitary inspections done by the local government.
City health and sanitation officers confirmed that cholera does not exist in San Juan, about three months after Mayor Guia Gomez noticed Facebook posts of a family complaining of illness after eating at one of the city’s restaurants and vowed to act.
Gomez ordered the inspections last September, directing the San Juan health department under chief Jesus Esteban and city environment office head Dante Santiago to lead the probes on the restaurant—the Chef Laudico Guevarra’s buffet place of popular chef Roland Laudico.
Officials of the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health also said there is no cholera incidence in Metro Manila. However, they said there are several cholera cases in Region 4A or the neighboring Calabarzon area, as reflected in its Food and Waterborne Diseases Surveillance Report No. 8 for January to August this year.
The supposed victims who posted their complaints online reside in Taytay, Rizal, which is part of Calabarzon, composed of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.
Through the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, the DOH epidemiologists tested the water supply and personnel of the restaurants on the date of the visit of the complaining family, and found none of the harmful pathogens, Laudico said in a statement.
Guevarra’s was even closed for a few days to accommodate the additional sanitation tests ordered by city hall, the chef added, but it has been business as usual for the buffet restaurant since Sept. 17.
“The local DOH immediately cleared us. We voluntarily chose to keep to the restaurant closed so we could take elevated precautionary measures. We went above and beyond the requirements of the local DOH,” Laudico said.
“No, it is not true, people did not get cholera after eating in Guevarra’s,” the chef said. “The persons may have been sick but they did not contract the illness from eating in [our restaurant].”
Laudico said Guevarra’s tapped three different testing companies to check the business for cholera bacteria. All three tests came back negative, not just for cholera but for amoeba and E. Coli infection as well, he added.
An infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, cholera is typically contracted from infected water supplies, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea. It may also be carried in uncooked seafood that came from a contaminated water supply.
“But as the tests proved, our water supply is clean. If our water had the cholera bacteria, the problem would have spread to the surrounding areas and there would have been more casualties,” Laudico said.
“Over 700 people dined in our restaurant that day, but none of the other patrons allegedly contracted cholera. Guevarra’s does not serve raw seafood. All our seafood dishes are cooked,” he added.