Published On: Sat, Sep 7th, 2013

Manila reports spike in leptospirosis in the aftermath of August floods

The massive flooding spawned by Tropical Storm Trami (locally known as Maring) in late August left health officials going into high gear in leptospirosis prevention.

Leptospira bacteria in liver impression smear. FA stain. CDC/ Mildred Galton

Leptospira bacteria in liver impression smear. FA stain.
CDC/ Mildred Galton

Philippines health officials started the distribution of the prophylactic antibiotic, doxycycline, and advising the public not to wade in the flood waters without protection.

Despite the efforts of health officials, The SunStar-Manila reported Friday the data of the Department of Health (DOH), from August 23 to September 5, there were 241 cases of leptospirosis recorded in various Metro Manila hospitals.

The figure is almost double from the total number of leptospirosis cases recorded by the DOH from January 1 to August 17, which only saw 143 patients.

One Manila hospital, Philippine General Hospital (PGH), reported 33 cases of leptospirosis, seven of them fatal during this past week, according to the University of the Philippines Manila.

Dr. Rey Tan, a nephrologist at PGH says health practitioners should consider leptospirosis if any individual presents with acute febrile illness of at least 2 days AND either residing in a flooded area or has high-risk exposure (defined as wading in floods and contaminated water, contact with animal fluids, swimming in flood water or ingestion of contaminated water with or without cuts or wounds) AND presenting with at least two of the following symptoms: myalgia, calf tenderness, conjunctival suffusion, chills, abdominal pain, headache, jaundice, or oliguria.

Dr. Tan stressed, “clinicians should therefore have a high index of suspicion among patients with febrile illness and high risk exposures because mortality may be as high as 15%.”

According to the Philippine Clinical Practice Guidelines, “Leptospirosis is an endemic zoonosis in the Philippines with an average of 680 leptospirosis cases and 40 deaths from the disease reported every year and a prevalence of 10/100,000. It is seasonal with a peak incidence during the rainy months of July to October.”

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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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