DOH reports surge in leptospirosis cases

DOH reports surge in leptospirosis cases
Ramcez Villegas/SunStar File

THE Department of Health (DOH) has recorded an increase in the cases of leptospirosis in the country over the past week.

The DOH said that from only six cases recorded from May 5 to 18 and 60 cases from May 19 to June 1, it went up to 83 from June 2 to June 15.

As of June 15, 878 cases of leptospirosis were recorded in the country with 84 deaths.

“While this is only around half of the number of Leptospirosis cases (1,769) in the same period last year, the DOH has observed that the weekly case count has started rising with the rains,” it said.

The DOH said cases of leptospirosis in all regions, except for the Zambonga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao, had increased over the previous month.

The agency urged the public to avoid wading through or playing in flood water to prevent leptospirosis.

“Umiwas lumusong o maglaro sa baha para wag ma-Lepto. Kung hindi maiwasan ang paglusong, gumamit ng bota, at hugasan agad ang katawan ng malinis na tubig at sabon pagkatapos. Kumonsulta sa doktor, mahirap na,” Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said.

“We also urge our local governments to declog flood drains and implement rodent control so that there will not be less chances for transmission to humans,” he added.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection transmitted by many animals, such as rodents and other vermin. Waste products like urine and feces of an infected animal, especially rats, contaminate the soil, water, and vegetation.

Leptospira bacteria can enter the body through breaks in the skin, or through the eyes, nose and mouth. Infected animal urine like those from infected rats can mix with flood water, which then comes into contact with people wading through or playing in it. Without treatment, Leptospirosis in people can lead to kidney damage, meningitis or inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord, liver failure, trouble breathing, and even death.

Leptospirosis symptoms include fever, vomiting, nausea, muscle pain, and headache while some cases have distinct pain in the calf muscles, and reddish eyes.

Severe cases may have jaundice or yellowish body discoloration, dark colored urine, light-colored stool, low urine output, and severe headache.

The DOH urged the public to immediately consult a doctor should they experience these symptoms, noting that it generally takes two to 30 days to get sick after having contact with the bacteria that cause leptospirosis. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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