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Published On: Wed, Aug 8th, 2012

DOH issues leptospirosis alert in wake of Manila floods

According to a report in the news source, Rappler, Tuesday, the DOH issued a “lepto” alert following the massive flood that hit Metro Manila and at least 7 other regions across the country.

People in flooded areas are advised to go to the hospital at the first sign of fever to check for possible leptospirosis, the Department of Health announced Tuesday, August 7.

“Those who will continue to be exposed in possibly contaminated flood waters should take doxycycline 200 mg once weekly,” Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said.

Hospitals should brace for the influx of patients, he added.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonotic disease caused by the corkscrew shaped organism, Leptospira. It goes by several other names depending on the locale; mud fever, swamp fever, sugar cane and Fort Bragg fever, among others. It is a disease of both humans and animals.

Image/CIA

The rat is the main host to Leptospira. However other animals such as cattle, pigs, horses, dogs, rodents, and wild animals.

People become infected by direct or indirect contact with the urine of these animals. Contact with urine-contaminated water is extremely important. Contaminated food and soil containing animal urine are other potential sources of infection.
The bacterium enters through contact with skin. Especially through cuts or breaks in the skin and through mucous membranes like the eyes.
Found worldwide, it was long considered an occupational disease (miners, farming, vets, and sugarcane harvesting and sewer workers), it is increasingly associated with recreational water sports and camping.
Symptoms of leptospirosis, if present,  appear in up to 4 weeks after exposure. Sometimes the person will show no symptoms or mild flu-likesymptoms.
According to the CDC, Leptospirosis may occur in two phases; after the first phase, with fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea, the patient may recover for a time but become ill again. If a second phase occurs, it is more severe; the person may have kidney or liver failure (jaundice) or meningitis. This phase is also called Weil’s disease.
Leptospirosis is confirmed by laboratory testing of a blood or urine sample.
The infection can be treated with antibiotics (penicillin and doxycycline), especially if started early in the disease. For very ill patients, intensive care support and IV antibiotic may be necessary.

Image-CDC/Janice Haney Carr

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Philippines issue health advisory post Typhoon Mario, worst flooding in Manila in two years | Outbreak News Today says:

    […] increase during and following a flood include water-borne diseases (e.g., typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis, and hepatitis A); and vector-borne diseases (e.g., malaria, […]

  2. Manila under water (Photos) - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] for us Wednesday 08 August, 2012 Breaking News > World NewsDOH issues leptospirosis alert in wake of Manila […]

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