Friday, October 16, 2009


Leptospirosis deaths soar to 89
The death toll from leptospirosis reached 89 as cases of the flood-borne disease in Metro Manila and flooded provinces rose tenfold in the past three days, the Department of Health (DOH) reported yesterday.



• a bacterial infection caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called leptospira
• occurs through direct contact with the urine of infected animals or by contact with a urine-contaminated environment such as surface water, floodwater, soil, and plants
• affects both humans and animals
• leptospira have been found in rats, insectivores, dogs, cats, cattle, pigs and horses
• bacteria enter through broken skins, through eyes, nose or mouth exposed to contaminated water although less frequently through animal bites, handling infected animal tissues or swallowing contaminated food or water
• an occupational hazard for people who work outdoors or with animals, such as rice and sugar-cane field workers, farmers, sewer workers, veterinarians, dairy workers and military personnel
• a recreational hazard to those who swim or wade in contaminated waters. In endemic areas the number of leptospirosis cases may peak during the rainy season and even may reach epidemic proportions in case of flooding.


Incubation period for the bacteria lasts 7 to 12 days. During this period, the following symptoms may be felt (although sometimes it can also be asymptomatic):

• high fever
• severe headache
• chills
• muscle pain
• vomiting
• jaundice
• redness in the eyes
• abdominal pain
• hemorrhages in skin and mucous membranes (including pulmonary bleeding)
• diarrhea
• rash

However, if these aren't treated, they may develop into kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, and respiratory distress.


• reduce the rat population with the destruction of their habitats -- maintain a clean home
• avoid immersion in natural waters such as rivers, lakes and canals
• avoid immersion in floods
• use protective footwear or clothing when immersion to natural waters or floods is inevitable
• provide clean drinking water

Source: GMA News Research, DO, WHO

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