14 suspected leptospirosis cases being monitored-A A +A
Friday, July 15, 2011
THE City Health Office (CHO) admitted on Thursday that Davao City has no laboratory facility to test patients suffering from leptospirosis.
"Katung namatay sa Brokenshire Hospital ang cause of death was multiple organ failure but they are not ruling out leptospirosis. Wala man gud tay laboratory to identify kung leptospirosis jud ang hinungdan sa sakit kay antibodies man gud na. I don't know if Davao Doctor's Hospital has that facility," said Dr. Tomas Miguel Ababon, assistant health administrator of CHO.
CHO is monitoring 14 patients in Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC) that may have been infected by leptospirosis but they are not from the areas affected by flood.
"Kadagahanan ani nila gikan sa Diwalwal, nagsakit mao ng nanguli," Ababon said during Thursday's I-Speak forum.
In Clinica Anda, another suspected leptospirosis case has been recorded by CHO and the agency still has to check with other hospitals, like Brokenshire, for patients suffering or are suspected to have been infected by leptospirosis.
Ababon said prophylaxis medicines for leptospirosis were given after the June 29 flashfloods but only in health centers set up near evacuation areas.
"Naa mi gipanghatag nga mga prophylaxis for leptospirosis for two weeks now, pero ginahatag ni siya every week especially kung ang lugar kay flooded pa gihapon. Naa mi upat ka health centers nga gi-dispatch sa mga evacuation areas to provide medical services sa mga biktima sa flooding (We have been giving prophylaxis for leptospirosis, but we have to give this every week if the place is still flooded. We have four health centers that we have set up in the evacuation areas to provide medical service for flood victims)," Ababon said.
Not enough personnel
He admits they do not have enough personnel who could go house-to-house in the affected areas and give out prophylaxis for the victims. All they can cater are those who are near the evacuation areas or those who go to the health centers they have provided.
Areas set up by the CHO that can provide flood victims with prophylaxis are in Matina Aplaya, San Isidro, Matina Crossing and a mobile team in Matina Pangi.
"That's why we need the media's help to deliver the message that there are medicines available in the health centers if they are still wading through flood waters. It is not advisable for them to wade to flood waters if they have open wounds. Prophylaxis is just to avoid the infection like what we do in malaria-stricken areas," Ababon added.
A total of 1,000 prophylaxis medicines were given from June 29 up to last week and CHO has enough stock for two months for all the victims of the flashfloods.
Leptospirosis, an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete, enters the break in the skin like open cuts and wounds. The incubation period for this type of disease range from five to seven days and symptoms are fever and abdominal pain, muscle pain with loose bowel movement.
"It multiplies in the blood and attacks the liver and the kidneys of the patients," Ababon said.
When asked if a patient can be infected by leptospirosis if he or she
swallowed floodwater, Ababon said: "Pwede pud na mahitabo kung may blisters siya sa sulod sa baba, basta kani siya sa break lang siya sa skin nagasulod gikan ni siya sa urine or feces sa ilaga nga madala sa baha (It is possible if a person has blisters in the mouth, but this bacteria enters through the break of the skin and comes from the urine or feces of rats swept away by floodwaters)."
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 15, 2011.