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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesFriday, January 6, 2012
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DOH: 1 death, 25 cases
of leptospirosis in NegOr

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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