The Department of Health (DOH) today advised the public to watch out for symptoms of leptospirosis if they have been wading in floodwaters these past few, rainy days. The sudden downpour several days this week has flooded many low-lying areas in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
“We can prevent complications of leptospirosis when its flu-like symptoms are recognized early and treated immediately. 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,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III declared.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Leptospira spirochetes bacteria that is spread through the urine of infected animals, especially rats. Its modes of transmission include wading in contaminated floodwaters, ingesting contaminated food or water.
The bacterium has an incubation period of seven to ten days before symptoms appear.
Symptoms of the disease include high fever, muscle pain, eye redness, chills, severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea, or yellowish skin discoloration.
If left untreated, leptospirosis may cause kidney failure, brain damage, massive internal bleeding, and death.
There were 1,030 cases of leptospirosis reported nationwide to the DOH from January 1 to June 9 this year, which is 41% higher than the number recorded during the same period last year. Of this number, 339 were laboratory-tested and 77 turned positive for Leptospirosis. There were 93 deaths recorded.
Ages of the 1,030 cases ranged from one to 88 years. Majority (872 or 85%) were males. Most of the cases came from Western Visayas (221), Caraga (162), and Region XI (86).
“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,” the health chief concluded.