MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – The Department of Health’s regional office in Ilocos on Friday warned residents against leptospirosis and other water-borne diseases amid the rainy season and flooding in the region after recording 45 cases from Jan. 1 to July 22 this year.
The DOH-1 said the number of cases was already 60 percent higher than the 28 cases recorded in the same period last year.
Of the total number of cases this year, 14 were in Ilocos Norte, 13 in La Union, 16 in Pangasinan and two in Dagupan City, which is a chartered city in Pangasinan.
The deaths due to leptospirosis also increased from three in the given period last year to nine in the same period this year or a 21 percent jump.
In a phone interview on Friday, DOH-1 medical officer Dr. Rheuel Bobis said the data were gathered prior to the flooding incidents caused by Super Typhoon Egay but that figure could increase due to more floodings in the past days.
He said the DOH has turned over doxycycline and antibiotics to provincial government health offices and is ready to be distributed to the local government units should the need arise.
“The doxycycline and antibiotic which is used as a prophylactic medication for those wading in floodwaters were given to the provinces,” he added.
DOH-1 regional director Paula Paz Sydiongco strongly cautioned the public not to wade in floodwaters as it can be contaminated with the leptospira bacteria.
“Hindi lang ito nakukuha sa daga kundi maging sa ihi ng mga infected na hayop gaya ng baka, baboy at aso na maaaring nasa tubig-baha. Kaya mabuting mag-ingat po tayo at umiwas na maglakad at maglaro sa mga kalsada na lubog sa tubig (It is not only acquired from rats but also from the urine of infected animals like cows, pigs and dogs which may be present in floodwaters. So it is better to be cautious and avoid walking or playing on flooded roads),” she said in a statement on Friday.
She also advised residents to wear protective gears such as boots, raincoats and umbrellas when going out in the rain, and to wash their feet immediately with clean water and soap after getting in contact with floodwater.
“Kung kayo ay may lagnat, pananakit ng kalamnan ng guya (calf), may panginginig, pananakit ng ulo at katawan, pagtatae, pamamantal, paninilaw ng balat at pamumula ng mata ay agad ng sa pinakamalapit na ospital at magpasuri sa duktor upang maagapan agad at mabigyan ng karampatang lunas upang hindi na lumala pa (If you have fever, muscle pains (especially on the calf), chills, headache and body pain, diarrhea, bruising, yellowish skin color and red eye, immediately go to the nearest hospital and have yourself checked by a physician for appropriate intervention),” Sydiongco said.
Bivalent Covid-19 vaccines
Meanwhile, the DOH-1 is also urging the residents of Ilocos Region belonging to the healthcare workers, elderly and with comorbidities and their subpriority groups to avail of the bivalent cornavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine.
Bobis, in a virtual presser hosted by the Philippine Information Agency Ilocos Region, said the new guidelines from the DOH now includes the A3 population or those with comorbidities to avail of the vaccine.
He said the bivalent vaccine could also be received by the eligible population as a first, second, and third booster after receiving primary series or the first and second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
In Ilocos Region, there are 15,439 individuals who have already received their bivalent booster shot as of Aug. 4. (PNA)