Man dies of leptospirosis after floods-A A +A
Thursday, July 14, 2011
A 56-YEAR-OLD resident of Samantha Executive Homes in Matina Pangi, Davao City, which was hit by massive flooding on June 29, died shortly after midnight Wednesday due to leptospirosis.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), leptospirosis is caused by a bacterium called Leptospira interrogans. People are infected by this disease through contaminated animal urine that is usually transmitted through flood waters. It can enter the body through lesions in the skin, eyes or mucous membranes.
Alfredo Directo succumbed to cardiac arrest four days after he was fighting for his life at the intensive care unit of Brokenshire Hospital. He was declared dead by attending physicians at 12:36 a.m.
The City Health Office (CHO), however, still has no record of cases of leptospirosis that are related to the recent flashfloods.
Directo is the first flood victim who died of leptospirosis. The village of Directo and four other barangays were hit by flashfloods two weeks ago. Twenty-nine people were killed and 13,746 families with 113,115 members were adversely affected by the flooding.
The victim's daughter, Michelle Directo-Francisco, said they rushed her father to the hospital Saturday after suffering from severe vomiting and loose bowel movement.
But even before that, the victim complained of headache, fever and muscle pain, but refused to be taken to the hospital, believing he only contracted flu.
He said he was just tired and traumatized after the flood, Francisco said.
She said her father started to feel sick on Thursday, nine days after the flood. He felt weak a day after and started to vomit and suffer from loose bowel movement.
He was immediately brought to the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) after he was first diagnosed to have suffered a heart attack, Francisco said.
A day after being confined at the ICU, his kidneys stopped functioning. When test results returned, it was found out that he had leptospirosis.
Francisco said her father had undergone procedures, such as dialysis, but his organs were no longer responding.
No record yet
Meanwhile, the City Health Office (CHO) said it has yet to receive a report of a leptospirosis case as a result of the June 29 flashfloods in five barangays in Davao City.
City Health Officer Dr. Josephine Villafuerte said they have been receiving constant updates from their health centers, but no such report was received.
"Sa mga cases na hindi pumupunta sa mga health centers namin ang suspected na may leptospirosis, 'yung private hospital ang nag-aabiso sa amin na may ganyang kaso sa kanila (Possible leptospirosis patients who have not sought assistance from our health centers would most likely seek help from private hospitals who in turn report these cases to us)," Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte said the CHO dispensed antibiotics to flood victims, especially those who had wounds. It also dispensed 400 shots of tetanus toxoid.
In its incubation period, leptospirosis can be cured or at least made less damaging through antibiotics, it being caused by the bacteria Leptospira interrogans, a corkscrew-shaped bacterium (spirochete).
Villafuerte said they will check on the report after being informed by Sun.Star that there is such a case at Brokenshire Hospital.
"I-check pa nato nang mga reported cases kung sa baha ba jud na nila nakuha kay puwedi man before pa sa baha, nakuha na na nila (We will still check those reported cases if they got the disease from the flood because it is possible that they got it before the flashfloods)," Villafuerte said.
The DOH recently reported that cases of leptospirosis have gone up by as much as 65.4 percent from January to June 25 this year compared to the same period in 2010.
Davao Region, the DOH report said, recorded 56 patients afflicted with the bacteria. It added that most of the patients were men aged 40 years old and above.
What concerns the CHO these days is the containment of communicable disease inside the evacuation center.
"Kung naay isa lang na bata na naay tigdas, basig mahurot tanan bata sa evecuation center na magkatigdas (Even if only one child gets measles, easily, all children in the evacuation center can contract it)," Villafuerte added.
She said measures to avoid communicable diseases have been set in place including sanitary facilities and clean water for washing at the evacuation center.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 14, 2011.