Under control? Leptospirosis claims more lives

Randy Datu
Deaths from leptospirosis reach 10 and the number of those infected surges to 426 on October 11, as the Gordon hospital continues to deal with overcrowding

CROWDED. A ward at the James L. Gordon hospital in Olongapo overflows with leptospirosis patients. Photo by Randy Datu/Rappler

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines – A day after the health secretary said the leptospirosis outbreak was “under control” – and as the province was placed under Storm Signal No. 3 – the rat-borne infection claimed more lives in Zambales.

The deaths from leptospirosis reached 10 and the number of those infected surged to 426 on Friday, October 11, as the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital continued to deal with overcrowding.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona, during his visit here on Thursday, said the outbreak was under control because only one additional patient was admitted at the hospital that day.

Outside the Gordon hospital, the Philippine Red Cross have erected tents to accommodate patients that could not be squeezed in the wards.

A few hours after Ona’s visit, another death was recorded, according to authorities.

Ona said the infections were caused by “urban rats” in Olongapo due to poor garbage collection since the city was heavily flooded in the last week of September.

Olongapo Mayor Rolen Paulino, countered this, saying the rats were those washed out by the floods from an abandoned mine.

The mayor also said the cleanup of the city had been delayed because the city government only has 3 operational garbage trucks.

It doesn’t have enough funds to rent dumptrucks and payloaders, according to city hall sources.

Former senator and Olongapo mayor Richard Gordon had sent a heavy equipment to the area through the Philippine Red Cross

Edward Buena, administrator of the Red Cross Olongapo City chapter, said they have at least 20 volunteer nurses helping out at the Gordon hospital, but they need more volunteers. – Rappler.com 

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