Leptospirosis kills 4 in cebu

Leptospirosis kills 4 in cebu
Photo by Kate Theresse Hamili

CENTRAL Visayas recorded four fatalities due to leptospirosis between Jan. 1, 2024 and June 15.

The victims were all from Cebu: two from Cebu City, one from Mandaue City and one from Daanbantayan.

The data was released by Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, regional epidemiologist at the Department of Health (DOH) 7 Center for Health Development, during an online forum Tuesday, June 25.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the leptospira spirochetes bacteria. It is contracted from exposure to water or soil contaminated by the urine of infected animals, especially rats, through cuts, wounds, abrasions, or any break in the skin.

After two to four weeks of contact to the bacterium, symptoms such as high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal discomfort, and chills, among others, typically manifest.

Bohol topped the list of recorded cases with 19, followed by Cebu Province with nine, Cebu City with seven, Negros Oriental with five, Lapu-Lapu City with one and Mandaue City with one.

“Ang animals nga makakuha sa leptospira kay dili siya ma-affected. Mo-affect ang leptospira once moadtu siya sa humans,” Cañal said.

(Animals that have the bacteria do not get affected. But once the bacteria is passed on to humans that’s when it takes effect.)

Cañal did not provide data from the previous year.

Spread of disease

The health official also explained that a leptospirosis outbreak can still take place during the dry season since the bacteria can easily spread once an infected animal’s urine or feces gets into the soil or water.

Cebu and the region recently experienced a drought that was brought about by the El Niño phenomenon.

Cañal said infection can occur when a person with an open wound is exposed to contaminated soil or water.

With the onset of the wet season, though, she urged members of the public, especially those with cuts or wounds, to avoid walking or wading in water, especially floodwater.

“Leptospirosis is not only from rats. We can also get it from livestock, pet animals, but very common from rats,” she said.

Meanwhile, Cañal said the government has allocated free medicine for the bacterial disease.

“An infected person can receive prophylaxis, which is Doxycycline, for free,” she said in Cebuano.

Cañal said this is available in health centers and partner-hospitals, among others. / CDF

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