Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection caused by contact with rodent urine, killed 99 people nationwide during the first semester this year, an official said Thursday.
Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo told ABS-CBN the fatality rate from Leptospirosis was a bit high, almost 10 percent.
“Out of 1,000 infected, we have confirmed that 99 died,” Domingo said. He said Leptospirosis cases increased last week due to heavy rain that caused massive flooding. He said floodwaters contaminated with rat urine swamped large parts of the country.
He described as “alarming” the report that the state’s kidney hospital recorded six Leptospirosis deaths in 3 days.
He said among the symptoms of leptospirosis, which could emerge up to 30 days after wading in contaminated waters, are fever, headache, muscle pain, jaundice, difficulty peeing and coughing up blood.
He urged those possibly exposed to rat urine to take anti-leptospirosis antibiotics and immediately consult doctors upon experiencing its symptoms.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Health department said there were 1,030 cases of Leptospirosis reported nationwide to it from Jan. 1 to June 9 this year, which was 41 percent higher than the number recorded during the same period last year.
Of that number, 339 were laboratory-tested and 77 turned positive for Leptospirosis. There were 93 deaths recorded but Domingo said the total was 99.
The department advised the public to watch out for symptoms of Leptospirosis if they had been wading in floodwaters these past few rainy days.
The sudden downpour several days this week flooded many low-lying areas in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
“We can prevent the complications of Leptospirosis when its flu-like symptoms are recognized early and treated immediately,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
“My advice to those who had to wade in the flood these past few days is to be alert for any symptom and to seek early consultation,”
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Leptospira spirochetes bacteria that is spread through the urine of infected animals, especially rats. Its modes of transmission include wading in contaminated floodwaters and ingesting contaminated food or water.
The bacterium has an incubation period of seven to 10 days before the symptoms appear.
If left untreated, Leptospirosis may cause kidney failure, brain damage, massive internal bleeding, and death.
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