Leptospirosis Outbreak Declared in 17 Metro Manila Barangays
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  • After reports of an alarming rise in leptospirosis cases this year, the Department of Health (DOH) has declared outbreaks of the disease in several barangays in Metro Manila, according to CNN Philippines

    Cities with leptospirosis outbreaks include Malabon, Mandaluyong, Navotas, Pasig, Parañaque, Quezon City, and Taguig. In total, 17 barangays were in the CNN report: 

    • Concepcion, Malabon
    • Addition Hills, Mandaluyong
    • North Bay Boulevard, Navotas
    • Pinagbuhatan, Pasig
    • BF Homes, Parañaque
    • San Dionisio, Parañaque
    • Bagong Silangan, Quezon City
    • Batasan Hills, Quezon City
    • Commonwealth, Quezon City
    • Novaliches Proper, Quezon City
    • Payatas, Quezon City
    • Pinyahan, Quezon City
    • Vasra, Quezon City
    • Lower Bicutan, Taguig
    • Maharlika Village, Taguig
    • Signal Village, Taguig
    • Western Bicutan, Taguig

    Health Secretary Francisco Duque III clarified that this does not mean the disease was contracted in these barangays. "The flooding might have been in a faraway city or barangay," he was quoted saying in the CNN report. "You're talking about wide areas of flooding."

    The number of cases now tally higher than average over the last 5 years. “These are already considered outbreaks because they have already breached the epidemic threshold, which means that the cases reported now in these cities and baranagays – as i have stated them one by one – they have already gone past the number or the average number for the last 5 years,” he said.

    People contract leptospirosis when water contaminated with the urine of an infected animal, most commonly rats, enters through cuts on the skin or the eyes, nose, and mouth, according to the World Health Organization.

    The DOH has been cautioning the public to be wary of floodwaters especially as the country is in the midst of the rainy season. Compared to last year, leptospirosis cases are up by 41% from the same January to June period. Reported cases are at 1,030 with 93 lives already lost as of June 27. In the National Capital Region alone, there have been 38 deaths and an increase of 60%. 

    “The fact na may namamatay is cause for alarm,” Secretary Duque told Rappler. “Yung nakakalungkot lang dito is this is a preventable disease for as long as everyone does his part,” he said.

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    According to the DOH, leptospirosis symptoms include: 

    • high fever
    • muscle pain
    • eye redness
    • chills
    • severe headache
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • yellowish skin discoloration

    “If left untreated, leptospirosis may cause kidney failure, brain damage, massive internal bleeding, and death,” adds the DOH. 

    WHO also explains that leptospirosis can be challenging to diagnose as its symptoms are similar to those of dengue, typhoid, and viral hepatitis. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial to help prevent worsening of the disease in a patient. 

    The best way to prevent leptospirosis is to avoid wading in floodwaters, advised Secretary Duque, adding that for those who must, boots must be worn. “My advice to those who had to wade in flood these past few days is to be alert for any symptom and to seek early consultation,” he said. Two days of fever should warrant a consultation with a doctor.

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