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Published On: Fri, Feb 8th, 2013

Davao sees a surge in leptospirosis post-floods

The massive flooding that struck the Davao region a few weeks ago due to heavy rains, is now showing it’s effect in the area of infectious diseases.

 

Image-CDC/Janice Haney Carr

Image-CDC/Janice Haney Carr

According to a SunStar Davao report yesterday, the City Health Office (CHO) of Davao has recorded a total of 28 cases of leptospirosis in just one week from flooded areasof the city. Four of the victims have died.

Based on CHO data, the city’s poblacion area recorded the highest number of cases with 10, followed by Talomo North with five, while Buhangin has four. One case each was recorded in Agdao, Baguio, Marilog, Toril and Tugbok.

CHO chief Dr. Josephine Villafuerte recommended health advisories for the barangays and hospitals regarding the signs and symptoms of leptospirosis.

She added that antibiotics for treatment of the infection should also be provided.

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.

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

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.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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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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