The Department of Health (DOH) in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) urged residents to take precautionary measures as the number of leptospirosis cases in the region has reached 75, with 12 recorded deaths.
DOH Calabarzon regional director Eduardo C. Janairo also directed local health officials and local leaders to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of leptospirosis and the current dengue outbreak in the communities due to the rainy season.
“Leptospirosis just like dengue is fatal but also preventable. All we need is to clean our surroundings, be sure that our garbage is well-attended and improve flood control measures in the community,” Janairo said in his meeting with officials of the province of Cavite Friday.
He also reminded parents of children fond of playing outside their homes during rainy days to avoid contracting leptospirosis owing to flooding these days.
“If we have no business to go outside our homes, it is best to stay inside and be safe,” he added.
The DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) showed a total of 75 leptospirosis cases recorded in the region from Jan. 1 to Aug. 17, this year.
This, however, is 62 percent lower compared with last year’s 199 recorded cases during the same period.
The infectious disease caused by leptospira bacteria from urine of rats has already claimed 12 lives in the region, with Rizal province having the highest number of cases at 34 with seven deaths.
Cavite has recorded 18 cases and two deaths; Laguna with 14 cases and one death; Batangas – nine cases and two deaths while Quezon has no reported cases.
The cities and towns in the region with high incidence are Antipolo City with 15 recorded cases; Rodriguez – nine cases and San Mateo – six cases in Rizal province while Binan City in Laguna and Dasmariñas City in Cavite reported five leptospirosis cases each.
The ages of cases ranged from less than 1 year to 72 years old. Majority of the cases were male with 13 and most of the cases belonged to the 11-20 years old age group.
Janairo advised those who walk through or wade into flooded areas and streets to wear boots as the bacteria causing the disease may seep in through open wounds or scratches on feet and thighs.
“Kailangan din nating uminom ng prophylaxis gaya ng docycyline bago tayo lumusong sa tubig upang makaiwas sa impeksyon na dala ngleptospirosis (it is necessary to take prophylaxis like docycyline before wading through flood areas to prevent leptospirosis infection),” he said.
According to the DOH, the leptospirosis disease is transmitted through skin abrasions while walking in moist soil, rice fields, and sugar cane plantations contaminated with the urine of an infected animal, like rats.
Other areas that may likely be contaminated with the disease are swimming pools, floodwaters, accidental immersion, occupational abrasion or direct contact with urine or even tissues of infected animals.
Janairo also urged residents to go to the nearest health center or hospital for any symptoms such as fever; body chills; headache and pains in the thigh, muscles and joints; redness in the eyes; skin turning pale and yellowish; and difficulty in urinating. (Saul Pa-a)
News source: Philippine News Agency