“Leptospirosis” Aftermath of the Heavy Rains

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After the continuous heavy rain fall brought by the southwest monsoon (hanging habagat), Metro Manila and other low-lying municipalities including those within the Rizal Province seemed to be a water world because of the flood water accumulated since the 14th of August, and as of the end of this month, a lot of areas therein are still suffering from this problem.

            Mounting this problem on its peak, Leptospirosis cases rose by 70.18% compared to the number of cases last year. Here are some facts about this disease. What is Leptospirosis?

            Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Leptospira, and is transmitted directly or indirectly from animals to humans. Leptospirosis is a major direct zoonosis (an infectious disease that can be transmitted from nonhuman animals). Human-to-human transmission occurs only very rarely.

When should physicians consider the diagnosis of Leptospirosis?

            The diagnosis of Leptospirosis should be considered for any patient presenting an abrupt onset of fever, chills, redness of eyes, headache, muscular pain and yellow discoloration of the skin. The diagnosis is more difficult when patients present symptoms of cough, difficulty in breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, joint pains and a skin rash.

How can transmission be interrupted?

Risk of infection is minimized by avoiding contact with animal urine, infected animals or an infected environment. Where appropriate, protective clothing should be worn and wounds covered with waterproof dressings to reduce the chance of infection if exposure is likely, e.g. occupational or recreational exposure.

How can humans be protected?

            Much depends on detailed knowledge of how, where and when humans may become infected in a particular area. One possibility is to increase awareness of the disease among the population, risk groups and health care providers, so that the disease can be recognized and treated as soon as possible. Doxycycline has been eported to give some protection against infection and disease.suffer from illnesses which could cost them their own lives. The Department of Health had distributed free Doxycycline tablets to the evacuees as well as those health workers and those involved in relief mission but instructed that lactating women and Children below eight years old must not take said medication. As what has always been said, prevention is better than a cure. Let us be responsible of taking care of ourselves because in the end… Those who didn’t take good care of themselves are the ones who will suffer from illnesses which could cost them their own lives.

Sources: 

www.themedicalcity.com 

www.rappler.com