DOH warns public vs leptospirosis after 'Ulysses' flooding

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2020 03:26 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday warned those who waded flood waters during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses to be wary of leptospirosis, saying the bacterial infection could be fatal but could be prevented. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded the public to go to their health centers to be given prophylaxis for leptospirosis. 

“Kung sakali po kayo’y lumubog o naglakad dito sa mga tubig baha noong time ng Typhoon Ulysses, please go to your health centers. Mayroon po tayong mga prepositioned na mga gamot diyan para mabigyan kayo for prophylaxis for leptospirosis,” Vergeire said in a press briefing. 

(If you waded or walked through flood waters during Typhoon Ulysses, go to your health centers. We have prepositioned medicine to give you for prophylaxis for leptospirosis.) 

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by contact with flood water, mud, or food contaminated with the urine of rats, dogs, pigs, cattle, or goats. 

The DOH reminded the public to immediately consult a physician to get a prescription of Doxycycline. From the Department of Health

Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, headache, muscle pain, eye redness, tea-colored urine, cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

If a person got wounded while wading through flood waters, Vergeire said he or she should go to the nearest health center for the possibility of being given an anti-tetanus shot. 

The anti-tetanus shot is free in health centers, she added. 

“Ang leptospirosis. . . ay maaaring makamatay, ito ay delikado. Kailangan lang po makainom tayo ng prophylaxis within 24 to 48 hours after wading into flood waters para po mapigilan ang pagkakasakit ng leptospirosis. At for anti-tetanus shot, kailangan within 24 hours of being wounded, nagkaroon tayo ng sugat because of walking [in floodwaters]” said Vergeire. 

(Leptospirosis is deadly. People should take prophylaxis within 24 to 48 hours after wading into flood waters to prevent it. You need to have an anti-tetanus shot, meanwhile, within 24 hours of being wounded after walking in floodwaters.)

In scenes reminiscent of unprecedented flooding brought by Tropical Storm Ondoy over a decade ago, villages in eastern Metro Manila and neighboring Rizal experienced severe inundation due to Ulysses, with the Marikina River reaching water levels worse than its peak at the height of the 2009 storm.

A total of 1,785 barangays from 154 municipalities and 30 cities across 12 affected regions in the country were flooded. It included 239 barangays in Metro Manila.

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