MANILA – The Department of Health yesterday warned the public against leptospirosis as it reported a total of 1,728 cases from Jan. 1 to May 26 this year, up 211.35 percent from 555 cases during the same period last year.
The DOH also reported 75 leptospirosis deaths during the period as against the 40 recorded in 2011.
Its said 50 percent or 868 cases were from Region 10, versus seven in 2011; and 19.3 percent or 6,333 cases in Region 6, against 143 last year.
In its advisory, the DOH said that the persons might be afflicted by leptospirosis are those living in a flooded areas, recently waded or swam in flood waters, have had high fever for two to three days; fever was accompanied by body pains, chills, headaches, and red eyes (like sore eyes); jaundice (yellowing of the skin); decreased levels of urination, and urine was tea-colored (a dark amber color).
The DOH said the symptoms occurred 10 days after a person first waded in flood waters, wet soil or vegetation.
Leptospirosis is an infection caused by direct exposure to bacteria found in animal urine and feces. Patients can get infected when they swallow flood water or when bacteria enter the body through open wounds, eyes, nose, or breaks in the skin.
As part of precaution, the DOH reiterated calls to the public to avoid flooded areas and to refrain from coming in contact with flood water, to wear protective clothing like pants, rubber boots, gloves or rubber jumpsuits, maintain their home clean and getting rid of rats.
The DOH advised those who have to wade through floods to protect the skin from bacteria by washing with soap and water the parts of the body that have come into contact with flood water.
It also said that those who were suspected of having leptospirosis should seek medical help immediately, take prescribed antibiotics as early as possible to prevent the progression.
Apart from leptospirosis, the DOH also issued a warning against other diseases common during rainy days such as flu, cough and colds, skin irritation and dengue.*PNA
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