PH logs 188% rise in leptospirosis cases

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

April 13, 2023, 5:03 pm

<p>A flooded street in Manila. <em>(PNA photo by Avito Dalan)</em></p>

A flooded street in Manila. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – A total of 1,015 leptospirosis cases have been recorded nationwide from Jan. 1 to March 18 this year, a 188 percent increase from the 353 cases during the same period in 2022.

The Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau (DOH-EB) surveillance report showed that Western Visayas logged the most number of cases at 212. It is followed by Cagayan Valley with 128 cases; Central Visayas with 89 cases; Zamboanga Peninsula with 87 cases; and the Davao Region with 72 cases.

Data also showed that there were more deaths caused by leptospirosis at 85 compared to the 50 recorded for the same period last year.

In a media forum on Wednesday, DOH officer in charge Maria Rosaria Vergeire said leptospirosis cases happen even outside the rainy season, especially in places that are submerged in floodwater throughout the year.

Since the disease could be acquired from rats’ urine mixed in the floodwater, Vergeire advised the public to wear proper gear like boots or plastic bags if walking in flood cannot be avoided.

“Kung may sugat sa paa, balutin niyo po muna ‘yung sugat niyo, lagyan ng gamot at pagkatapos, pagkauwi niyo sa bahay, lumusong talaga kayo, sabunin at hugasan ng malinis na tubig ang inyong paa (If you have wounds in your feet and soaked them in flood water, wash them thoroughly with soap and clean water),” she said.

She also advised the public to see a doctor at the first symptoms of leptospirosis after walking in floodwaters.

The symptoms of leptospirosis include abdominal pain, chills, headache, high fever, muscle aches, vomiting and yellowing of eyes and skin.

“Ang leptospirosis po ay nakamamatay, sinisira po nito ang ating mga bato, eventually kapag naging kumplikado, nagda-dialysis po ang ating mga pasiyente (Leptospirosis is fatal as it destroys the kidneys. The patient needs dialysis when there are complications),” she said.

The public is also urged to keep their environment clean to keep rats from inhabiting their surroundings. (PNA)