AMID flooding incidents due to recent heavy rains, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao has recorded 44 suspected leptospirosis cases with four deaths in Davao Region from January to September 2 this year.
DOH-Davao director Dr. Annabelle Yumang said on Tuesday, September 3, that suspected leptospirosis cases is highest in Davao City with 14 patients and three who have died; Davao del Norte has 13 cases with no death recorded; Compostela Valley Province with 11 cases and one death; Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental recorded one case each.
Leptospirosis is an infection spread mainly through contact with water or soil contaminated with the urine of infected animals, particularly rats. Persons can get the disease by swimming or wading in fresh unchlorinated water contaminated with animal urine or by coming into contact with wet soil or plants contaminated with animal urine.
In the past weeks, Davao Region experienced a series of heavy downpour particularly in Davao City that has caused massive flooding. With this, Yumang advised the public and the flood victims to remain vigilant during the rainy season to prevent from acquiring this fatal disease.
“Ang importante every time nga naay magbaha, active man gud ang atoang City Government adtoan gyud na dayon ilahang evacuation center didto na manghatag na dayon og tambal. Also, dali raman ang tambal kay single dose lang man [It is important that after the flooding, the City Government visits the evacuation areas to administer antibiotic. Anyway, it is easy to administer the antibiotic since it is only a single-dose),” Yumang said.
DOH has given the flood victims doxycycline, the antibiotic drug used as standard prophylaxis for leptospirosis patients. She further assured that there is no shortage of the antibiotic and they are ready to respond should there is a need for these medicines to prevent the disease from being acquired which is caused by the flood.
The symptoms of the infection include fever, chills and severe headache, which usually appear four to 14 days after being exposed to contaminated floodwaters or mud. Aside from that, an infected individual may manifest red eyes, jaundice, tea-colored urine and difficulty to urinate.
“Atong pahimangno karon sa nabahaan, labin na katong wala pa kabalik sa ilang panimalay, katong niadto gyud or nastuslob jud ilahang mga lawas, ilang mga tiil didto mudool lang dayon sa health center [I advised the flood victims to go to the health centers if they were exposed to contaminated flood water],” Yumang said.