The provincial office of the Department of Health in Negros Oriental has reported as of yesterday morning 25 suspected cases of leptospirosis, and one death, but regional health officials have not declared its outbreak in the province.
The leptospirosis cases surfaced after tropical storm “Sendong” battered Dumaguete and other parts of the province on December 17. The bacterial infection is water-borne, usually carried by floodwaters contaminated with urine of rats and rodents, but is not, transmitted between humans.
Dr. Socrates Villamor, chief of the DOH’s Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unity in Negros Oriental, said Tanjay City topped the list of suspect leptospirosis victims, with one death and 18 cases.
Dumaguete was second with three cases, followed by San Jose town with two, and Bais City with one. Eleven of the patients were admitted to the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete.
An unnamed doctor from a private hospital in Dumaguete also reportedly confirmed that three other cases were reported, although Villamor said they have not officially received a report from the hospital.
Leptospirosis cases in the province have been reported only as “suspect cases” to the DOH until blood tests are run for confirmation, Villamor said.
A team from the DOH’s Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Center in Region 7 based in Cebu is now in Negros Oriental to monitor areas and hospitals with reported cases of leptospirosis. The team is now in Tanjay City.
Villamor said health officials had anticipated the surge of leptospirosis and other diseases in areas in Negros Oriental hit by “Sendong”.
He advised flood victims, rescuers and those who have come in contact with contaminated water to look out for flu-like symptoms such as high fever, headaches and muscle pains.
Leptospirosis can be contracted through open wounds of a person who has been exposed to contaminated water. It could lead to death due to liver or renal failure, Villamor added.*JFP
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