MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 113 deaths due to leptospirosis from January 1 to August 3 this year, from a total of 981 cases all over the country.
Based on data released by the DOH Epidemiology Bureau on Tuesday, August 20, the total number of cases was almost 3 times less during the same period last year. There were 2,618 cases for the first 7 months of 2018 alone.
Like in 2018, the majority of cases this year came from the National Capital Region (NCR) with 336, followed by Western Visayas (Region VI) with 128.
Despite the marked decrease in cases, the health department in July warned the public against the bacterial disease “with the coming of rains and floods.”
Leptospirosis, according to the World Health Organization, 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. (READ: Fast Facts: What is leptospirosis?)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III visited leptospirosis patients at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) on Tuesday, August 20, reminding the public to consult medical professionals as soon as symptoms like high fever, muscle pain, redness of the eyes, and jaundice or yellow discoloration of the skin. In worse cases, leptospirosis can lead to kidney or liver failure.
Here or some photos from the health secretary's visit: