DOH sees possible leptospirosis outbreak in Zamboanga-A A +A
Thursday, October 10, 2013
AFTER Olongapo City, the Department of Health (DOH) is also expecting another leptospirosis outbreak, this time, in Zamboanga City.
DOH spokesperson Dr. Eric Tayag said that they are wary of a possible second outbreak of the flood-borne disease in the country after Zamboanga City experienced massive flooding over the weekend.
"By next week, we expect the first few cases of leptospirosis. That is why we are already looking at this," said Tayag in a press briefing.
Over the weekend, the war-torn Zamboanga City was also rammed by massive flooding brought by heavy rains in the area.
Tayag said they have already sent the supply of prophylaxis medicine to Zamboanga City as they expect the first few leptospirosis cases to emerge next week.
"We expect the people to take the medicines and we want to remind that this is a directly-observed treatment," said Tayag.
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by the Leptospira bacteria found in rats’ urine, normally present in flood waters.
Its signs and symptoms include high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rashes
Tayag noted how failure to take the medicines is among the reasons for the outbreak in Olongapo City, which was also flooded late last month.
"The outbreak of leptospirosis there was not unexpected so we immediately sent prophylaxis medicine there. But the problem is there were residents that did not take the medicines. It would have prevented infection," said Tayag.
He said the DOH is already looking into the circumstances surrounding the failure to take the medicines despite the “directly-observed treatment” directives of the DOH.
"We are looking into it. We don’t know yet why this happened, why the medicines were not taken. But this should be a directly-observed treatment and not just distributed," said Tayag.
He said the DOH has already sent a team of epidemiologist to conduct an investigation on the outbreak.
Based on their records, there are already 202 people affected by leptospirosis, including five deaths, between September 27 and October 9. (HDT/Sunnex)