MANILA, Philippines ━ The Department of Health declared a leptospirosis outbreak in Quezon City, Taguig, Pasig, Parañaque, Navotas, Mandaluyong, and Malabon.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the number of cases here was now 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 municipalities have already gone past the number or the average number for the last 5 years,” he said.
How many are affected? A spokesman from the DOH said they have recorded a total of 368 leptospirosis cases and 52 fatalities in the National Capital Region.
Data from the DOH listed the following number of cases per city from the start of the rainy season this year: Quezon City (40 cases in 9 barangays); Taguig (16 cases in 4 barangays); Paranaque (6 cases in 2 barangays); and Pasig (4 cases in 1 barangay)
The DOH also advised the following cities to be on alert as the risk of cases increasing was high:
● Navotas (3 cases in 1 barangay)
● Mandaluyong (3 cases in 1 barangay)
● Malabon (3 cases in 1 barangay)
Nationwide, the DOH also recorded a 41% increase with 1,040 cases recorded as of June 16.
Why the spike in cases? Duque earlier attributed the rise in cases to the continuous heavy rain and poor garbage collection in barangays.
He urged local government units to enforce strict garbage collection and to drain potentially contaminated waters. “Patients with leptospirosis-like symptoms should be brought immediately to the nearest health care facility for proper diagnosis and treatment,” Duque said in a statement.
The DOH earlier said it was pre-positioning medicines to regions nationwide to respond to the increased number of cases.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria found in the urine of animals such as rats. Incidents of the disease often spikes during the rainy season when people often have to wade through dirty floodwater.
Symptoms of leptospirosis are high fever, headache, chills, vomiting, abdominal pain, and red eyes. However, sometimes the symptoms do not manifest at all or go away quickly. ━ (Source: CNN)