ILOILO – Though the number of leptospirosis cases in Western Visayas is much lower than last year, the Department of Health (DOH) Region 6 still warned the public of the dangers of the bacterial disease.
This was after different parts in the region experienced flooding due to monsoon rains in recent weeks.
“Still, the best way is prevention. Avoid, if you can, wading in floodwaters to prevent being infected by the Leptospira bacteria,” DOH-6 medical coordinator Dr. Rosemarie Lamirez said.
From Jan. 1 to Sept. 7 this year, DOH-6 recorded a total of 170 leptospirosis cases with 18 deaths.
This is 53-percent lower than the figure last year, which recorded 364 cases with 43 deaths on the same period.
The province of Negros Occidental topped the list this year with 62 leptospirosis cases and six deaths, followed by Iloilo with 49 cases and three deaths; Bacolod City with 15 cases and two deaths; Iloilo City with 14 cases with one death; Antique with 11 cases and one death; Capiz with nine and three deaths; Guimaras with eight cases and two deaths. There have been no recorded cases in the province of Aklan.
Most of the fatalities belong to the age group 41 to 50 years old with six deaths; followed by 21 to 30 years old with four deaths; 11 to 20 years old with three deaths; 51 and above with three deaths; and 31 to 40 years old with two deaths.
Lamirez said the decrease in leptospirosis this year is due to fewer typhoons in the region.
But she still advised the public, especially farmers, not to be complacent and avoid dirty floodwaters.
She urged farmers to avoid wading through farm water, especially if they have cuts or open wounds.
“Subong ya 170 ang cases naton nubo gid man siya pero indi kita maging complacent kay makita naton nga todo ang inulan sa aton bisan wala masyado bagyo ara gid ang baha indi ta mapaktan ang tubig nga gina ubog-ubugan naton infected. That’s why as much as possible ang palibot limpyuhan gihapon,” said Lamirez.
She added that when farmers cannot avoid having contact with water, they were advised to use gears like boots to protect them from the disease.
“Ang aton lang gid usual nga advise, once dira sila sa ila nga kaumahan before sila magbalik i-make sure nga nakapanglimpyo gid sila sa ila tiil kay tendency abi sang iban nga farmers dira lang gapanglimpyo sang tiil sa ila talamnan,” Lamirez said.
Those who have contact with possibly contaminated water are advised by Lamirez to visit Rural Health Units for the necessary medical treatment.
Leptospirosis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. It can occur worldwide but is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions, it added.
Human infection happens through “direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment.”
“As animals are constantly in our environment, there is a particular danger of getting leptospirosis when flooding occurs, such as following a typhoon or very heavy seasonal rains, because of exposure to contaminated water when wading in floodwaters,” the WHO said. (With WHO/PN)