MANILA — Quezon City has raised the alarm over its increasing cases of potentially deadly but preventable leptospirosis.
According to the Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), 5 deaths from different barangays — Sauyo, South Triangle, Quirino 2-C, Commonwealth, and Batasan Hills — have been attributed to leptospirosis over the past couple of weeks.
"This worrying trend escalates the number of deaths from the disease to 12 (from 8 last year)," it said.
CESU said there was an increase in leptospirosis cases in the city in the past 2 weeks.
From August 8 to 14, CESU logged 34 new cases of leptospirosis — 13.33 percent higher compared to the 30 infections it reported the week prior or from August 1 to 7. It added that on Monday alone, it detected 20 new cases.
The total number of leptospirosis cases so far this year in the city rose to 114.
The city's epidemiology bureau said that Barangay Batasan Hills "is emerging as a hotspot" which reported the highest tally of 9 cases.
It also warned of "potential clusters of cases" in Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, Quirino 2-A, and Bagong Silangan.
Leptospirosis cases are expected to increase during the rainy season, as more people wade through floodwaters that may be contaminated with urine from rodents and animals infected with the bacteria leptospira.
Among the symptoms of leptospirosis are fever and chills, head and muscle aches, red eyes, vomiting, and jaundice or yellow skin and eyes.
Pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis are available for leptospirosis.
Due to the concerning trend, CESU has engaged in an intensive campaign to combat leptospirosis.
It urged residents to be vigilant and take preventive measures against leptospirosis as the city reached the alert threshold for the disease.
CESU chief Dr. Rolly Cruz reminded residents to avoid floodwaters, practice good personal hygiene, seek medical help, and be on alert for symptoms.
The CESU is visiting communities to investigate if other family members have been exposed to the leptospirosis-causing bacteria to give appropriate management and information campaign.
Meanwhile, health centers are conducting assessments to actively seek those exposed to floodwaters in the previous weeks to administer post-exposure prophylaxis antibiotics if necessary to avoid infection.
"Importante na maiparating natin sa kababayan natin, especially iyong mga kalalakihan, kasi sila 'yung, mga kalalakihan na nagtatrabaho sa construction site, iyong mga bumibiyahe, iyong mga driver, mga estudyante na lumalabas araw-araw at nae-expose sa baha, na mag-ingat sa threat ng leptospirosis," Cruz said.
"Kasi kailangan malaman nila kung papaano sila mahahawahan ng leptospirosis. So iyan ang ginagawa nating intensive campaign ngayon."
The Department of Health expects cases of leptospirosis to go up in the next few weeks amid the rainy season.
DOH Undersecretary Eric Tayag reminds the public not to wade in floodwaters as open wounds may get exposed to the leptospirosis bacteria.
He urged people to use boots if walking through flooded areas and monitor symptoms if exposed to contaminated waters.