'Alarming figure': State kidney hospital records 6 leptospirosis deaths in 3 days

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 27 2018 03:28 PM | Updated as of Jun 28 2018 09:04 AM

More cases recorded in five days in the hospital than in all of 2017

MANILA - Six patients have died due to leptospirosis in the past 3 days while 33 others remain confined at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City, a hospital official said Wednesday, sounding the alarm on the rise in cases of the rat-borne disease. 

A 16-year old boy and 5 adults died due to pulmonary hemorrhage or bleeding in the lungs, Dr. Luis Limchiu Jr., Chairman of NKTI’s Department of Adult Nephrology, told ABS-CBN News.

“Most of the patients were family breadwinners who had waded in floods and work even during stormy weather,” said Dr. Romina Danguilan, NKTI’s Hemodialysis Unit Head.

As of Wednesday noon, 22 leptospirosis patients were already undergoing dialysis to remedy kidney failure caused by the bacteria commonly acquired through contact with rat urine. 

“We recorded 44 admissions between June 23 and 27. This is alarming because we only had 41 leptospirosis patients in the entire 2017,” Danguilan said.

At least 1,030 cases of leptospirosis were recorded in the Philippines between January 1 and June 9, 2018, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed. 

The figure is half the total number of leptospirosis cases in 2017 pegged at 2,495, DOH records showed.

On Tuesday, the NKTI setup a makeshift 24-bed leptospirosis ward in the hospital’s gym as wards are already full.

“We expected na dadami (that there will be more cases) dahil rainy season but we did not expect it to increase by this much,” Danguilan said.


The sudden spike in leptospirosis cases may be due to more frequent flooding and the failure of those possibly exposed to rat urine to take anti-leptospirosis antibiotics, she said.

“Once they (patients) come to NKTI, it’s already very severe. They’re already coughing up blood,” she added.

People who wade in floods should avail themselves of antibiotic prophylaxis capsules that directly attack the bacteria from rat urine, Danguilan said.

“These prescriptive antibiotics are available for free from barangay health clinics and government hospitals,” she said.