Manila, Philippines – Last month, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that there are over 500 cases of leptospirosis in National Capital Region (NCR) alone from January 1 to July 10, 2018. The increased incidence of leptospirosis was attributed to contaminated waters such as floodwaters.
As of posting, five hundred eleven (511) cases in NCR has been reported. Of these, sixty-six (66) patients died of complications.
Patients extract leptospirosis after coming in contact with urine or other bodily fluids (except saliva) from infected animals. A person who comes in contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals. The bacteria then enters the body through skin or mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or mouth, especially if there are skin breaks from scratches or cut. The causative agent may also enter the body after drinking contaminated water.
How to avoid having leptospirosis?
Health authorities advise Filipinos, especially those who live in flooded areas, to avoid wading in floodwaters and swimming in possibly contaminated waters.
Other preventive measures include wearing of protective footwear (boots) if wading in floodwaters can not be avoided.
Protective clothing or footwear should be worn by those exposed to contaminated water or soil because of their job or recreational activities.
Wash the body parts exposed to possibly contaminated waters with soap and water after wading or swimming.
Patients who were exposed to contaminated waters should consult a physician for possible prophylaxis or prevention. The medicines for leptospirosis are available for free at the health center and DOH hospitals.