July 16, 2024

The Department of Health said the number of leptospirosis cases is increasing, recording 878 cases and 84 deaths as of June 15, since rains resulting in floods started this month.

The figure is only half of the 1,769 cases recorded for the same period last year but it was observed that cases increased in the recent morbidity weeks.

“From only six cases recorded last May 5 to 18, 60 cases were recorded last May 19 to June 1, followed by 83 cases observed from June 2 to June 15,” the DOH said.

Case counts may still increase with delayed reports, it added.

All regions had increases in leptospirosis cases over the previous month except for the Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao.

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the leptospira bacterium found in contaminated water or soil.

Leptospira bacteria can enter the body through breaks in the skin, or through the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Rats infected with these bacteria may infect people through their urine which mixes with flood water. The DOH advised the public to avoid wading through or playing in flood water.

Leptospirosis symptoms include fever, vomiting, nausea, muscle pain, headache, distinct pain in the calf muscles, and reddish eyes.

Severe cases may have jaundice or yellowish body discoloration, dark-colored urine, light-colored stool, low urine output, and severe headache.

It takes two to 30 days to get sick after having contact with the bacteria that cause leptospirosis.

A preventive antibiotic prescription is available. Individuals exposed to flood water are advised to consult with a doctor immediately.

If walking in flood water cannot be avoided, the DOH said protective gear such as boots must be worn. – PNA