By Leilani S. Junio
MANILA (PNA) – The Department of Health (DOH) is reminding people exposed to dirty floodwaters during the recent heavy rains to seek immediate consultation if they begin experiencing symptoms of leptospirosis.
“If you (the public) had been in places where there were floods and suspecting that the water (you got immersed) was dirty — a combination of garbage, feces and urine of rats, you must go and see a doctor,” DOH Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Dr. Eric Tayag said on Wednesday.
He said that experiencing the three symptoms — fever, yellowish skin, and redness in eyes — should prompt them to go for a consultation.
Dr. Tayag added that once a person notices that his/her urine turns to be tea-like in color, the more he/she should decide to see a doctor.
He said that consultation can be made in any DOH- retained hospitals and rural health centers wherein the necessary medicines are also available.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira.
In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases.
However, some infected persons may not display symptoms at all.
Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.
As of now, the DOH spokesperson said that the number of cases of leptospirosis in the country is still low compared with last year.
From Jan. 1 to July 30, this year, there were 376 cases of leptospirosis recorded. During the same period period of 2015, there was a total of 552 cases.
Dr. Tayag attributed the high number of cases last year to the early onset of the rainy season.
It was in the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila, Region III (Central Luzon), and Region VI (Western Visayas) where cases of leptospirosis were recorded to be high.
To date, the number of deaths due to leptospirosis was recorded at 33.
Following are some of the recommended measures to prevent leptospirosis:
* Avoid swimming or wading in potentially contaminated water or floodwater.
* Use of proper protection like boots and gloves when work requires exposure to contaminated water.
* Drain potentially contaminated water when possible.
* Control rats in the household by using rat traps or rat poison, maintaining cleanliness in the house.