PRO/AH/EDR> Leptospirosis – Philippines (04): (Western Visayas) fatal, increasing cases


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 7 Jul 2023 11:05 PHST
Source: Inquirer [edited]

The Iloilo Provincial Health Office (IPHO) has warned the public,
especially farmers, against leptospirosis after cases went up by close
to 300% in the first 6 months of the year [2023].

Iloilo recorded 107 leptospirosis cases with 2 deaths from January to
24 Jun 2023, or 296% higher than the 27 cases recorded over the same
period last year [2022].

Rodney Labis of the IPHO attributed the rise of the cases to wading in
farms and flood waters, especially that it had been raining in Iloilo
in the past weeks. He said leptospirosis, which is caused by
Leptospira bacteria, could be acquired through direct contact with
urine, blood, or tissue of an infected animal. “Contact commonly
occurs when the skin or the linings of the eyes, nose, sinuses, and
mouth come in contact with infected material,” said Labis.

Wading in contaminated water poses a risk, especially when one has an
open wound because it allows Leptospira bacteria to get into the
body, he added. “Farmers are also at great risk because their work
requires them to sink their feet into water in the fields, which may
also be contaminated by the disease,” said Labis.

Cases of leptospirosis were reported in Cabatuan, 14; Barotac Nuevo,
12; Pototan, 11; Anilao, 7; Dingle and Oton, 5 each; Santa Barbara,
Dumangas, and San Enrique, 4 each; and Mina, 3. Cabatuan recorded the
highest jump, at 1300% from only one case recorded around the same
time last year [2022].

Two deaths were also logged, with one each from the towns of Badiangan
and Carles.

No cases had been recorded so far in the towns of Ajuy, Passi,
Guimbal, Igbaras, Lambunao, Leganes, San Dionisio, San Joaquin, San
Rafael, Sara, and the component city of Passi.

Leptospirosis’ initial symptoms include fever, muscle pain (especially
in the calves), headache, chills, and redness of the eyes. Severe
cases may affect the liver, kidney, and brain…, which may manifest
through yellowish skin or eyes, dark-colored urine, and low urine
output. Other symptoms may also include frequent vomiting,
stomachache, cough, and rashes.

“[The public] must avoid swimming or wading in contaminated water,
especially flood water or in the fields,” said Labis. If it could not
be avoided, he said personal protective equipment, including gloves
and boots, must be used. Exposed body parts, including the hands,
feet, and other parts must be washed with [clean] water and soap after
exposure, he added.

After any potential exposure, Labis advised taking prophylaxis like
doxycycline with proper guidance from the healthcare provider. “Rat
population in homes and in farms must also be controlled,” he

Local government units (LGU) through their rural health units (RHU)
have been conducting response activities, including health promotion
at the community level, coordination with farmers’ associations,
procurement and distribution of prophylaxis, and mobilization of RHU
personnel and barangay health workers. IPHO personnel have also been
assisting LGUs and their RHUs in health promotion, especially on
diseases that have been spreading quickly because of the rain.

[Byline: Joey Marzan]

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.