DOH warns public on risk of leptospirosis

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Manila, Philippines – After different parts of Metro Manila and the provinces experienced flooding in recent weeks, the Department of Health (DOH) warned the public of the risk of acquiring leptospirosis.

“Still, the best way is prevention. Avoid, if you can, wading in floodwaters to prevent being infected by the Leptospira bacteria. Or use boots when it cannot be avoided and go to the nearest health center if you have fever for two days,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement on Wednesday

“We can prevent complications of leptospirosis when its flu-like symptoms are recognized early and treated immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, those who already waded in floodwaters should get medical attention as early as possible, he added

“My advice to those who had to wade in the flood these past few days is to be alert for any symptom and to seek early consultation,” Duque stressed.

According to DOH data, there were 1,030 cases of leptospirosis reported nationwide from January 1 to June 9 of this year—a 41 percent increase from the same period last year.

Of the number, 93 died, 339 were laboratory-tested, and 77 were found positive for the disease.

The agency said that leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Leptospira spirochetes bacteria, which is spread through the urine of infected animals, especially rodents like rats.

Bacteria, which has an incubation period of seven to ten days, is transmitted to humans through access to contaminated waters and food.

Some symptoms of the disease include high fever, muscle pain, eye redness, chilling, severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and yellow skin discoloration.  If left untreated, this could lead to kidney failure, brain damage, massive internal bleeding and even death.

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