MANILA—Leptospirosis cases in the Philippines from January 1 to October 29 climbed to a total of 2,794, according to data from the Department of Health released on Friday.
This figure is 68% higher compared to the same period last year, which was at 1,661. The number of deaths due to leptospirosis is also up at 370, from 178 in 2021.
The DOH reminded the public that leptospirosis cases 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.
“Ang leptospirosis, expectedly, especially during the rainy season, it increases. Right now, it’s kind of more emphasized, because there would be, on top of the non-communicable diseases, are those people who have kidney ailments,” DOH Officer-in-Charge Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
Among the symptoms of leptospirosis are fever and chills, head and muscle aches, red eyes, vomiting, and jaundice or yellow skin and eyes.
A nephrologist said once these symptoms show at two to 14 days from exposure to contaminated water, one should immediately consult a doctor.
“It’s just flu-like symptoms pag early stages of the leptospirosis. So kung hindi ka mag-konsulta at hindi malakas ang resistensya ng katawan, maaaring lumala ang leptospirosis. Ang worst case scenario na pwedeng mangyari ay ‘yun nga, maaari kang ma-dialysis dahil sa severe forms of leptospirosis.,” Dr. Donnah de Leon of NKTI said.
Leptospirosis is among the illnesses driving up the number of patients seeking dialysis treatment at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.
To assist the NKTI, the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army committed to deploying some of their nurses, according to the DOH.
“So we can open up the gym in NKTI, put there the extra dialysis machines and those that will man these dialysis machines are our assistance coming from the PNP and AFP, their nurses and doctors,” Vergeire said.
To prevent leptospirosis, avoid contact with water or soil that may be contaminated with urine from potentially infected animals. And if wading through floods cannot be avoided, wear boots.