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Editorial | Floods and leptospirosis

Those who are affected by flood in the past days have another concern to look into. The Department of Health has reported cases of Leptospirosis in the region and cautioned those who have been in contact with floodwater to immediately seek medical attention if they feel unwell.

Centers for Disease Control Prevention, a US-based medical organization, defined Leptospirosis as a “bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.

“People can get leptospirosis when they have contact with water or soil containing urine or other body fluids from infected animals or if they directly touch the urine from an infected animal. A variety of animals can spread leptospirosis, including rodents, dogs, livestock, and wildlife. During a hurricane or heavy rain, animal urine in the soil or on other surfaces can run into floodwater, contaminating it. Streams and other natural water sources can also be contaminated.” (www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis)
Health Regional Director Dr. Anabelle Yumang said in Tuesday’s press conference that suspected cases in the region were reported in Compostella Valley with 12 cases (1 died); Davao City with 17 cases (3 died), Davao Del Norte with 13 cases; Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental with 1 case each. Davao Occidental reported no cases of Leptospirosis.

Symptoms of this disease include high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, rash , red eyes and abdominal pain which could be mistaken for other diseases. Some may have no symptoms at all.

Yumang said the city’s health department is active in reaching out to flood victims in evacuation centers by providing prophylaxis or ensuring preventive measures are in place. Seeking medical assistance at the first sign of illness is the best preventive measure we can do.

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