Northern Mindanao, or Region X in the Philippines has reported a doubling of typhoid fever and rotavirus since the beginning of the year and a more than 200 percent increase in leptospirosis through March 18, according to data from the Philippines Department of Health’s Epidemiology Bureau.
423 typhoid cases have been reported from January 1 through March 18 this year, a 103 percent increase compared to the same period in 2022 when 208 cases were reported.
Typhoid fever is a serious disease caused by Salmonella Typhi (Typhi) bacteria. The bacteria spread through contaminated food and water and person-to-person contact.
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Symptoms of typhoid fever include high fever, weakness, stomach pain, headache, constipation or diarrhea, cough, and loss of appetite. Typhoid fever can be fatal without appropriate antibiotic treatment.
An 103 percent increase in rotavirus cases were also reported in Northern Mindanao this year.
Rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrheal diseases in young children all over the world.
Rotavirus is very contagious, you can get sick after ingesting less than 100 virus particles.
Infection occurs through the fecal-oral route, both directly and during contact with surfaces and objects that could be contaminated: toys, floors, furniture, clothes, etc., as well as during food intake.
Symptoms of the disease usually appear after 2 days and often begin with vomiting. Then comes frequent diarrhea that lasts for four to eight days. Subfebrile temperature (37–37.5ºС) is also characteristic. Additional symptoms such as loss of appetite and dehydration can be especially dangerous for infants and young children.
Treatment of acute rotavirus infection is non-specific and primarily involves combating dehydration.
The main methods of prevention of rotavirus infection are vaccination and compliance with the rules of personal hygiene.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria. Infected animals spread the bacteria through their urine (pee). When infected animals pee, the bacteria get into the water or soil and can live there for weeks to months.
You can be infected if you touch fresh water, soil, or other objects contaminated with infected animal urine. The most common ways to get infected is urine or contaminated water getting in your eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin (such as a cut or scratch). You can also get infected by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.
Region X has seen a a 211 percent increase in leptospirosis cases this year (56 cases vs 18 cases reported in 2022 at this time).
Some people with leptospirosis do not have any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they can include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, stomach pain, diarrhea, and sometimes a rash. Without proper treatment with antibiotics, people with leptospirosis may develop serious problems with their kidneys, liver, or lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). In some cases, leptospirosis can cause death.
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In addition, Northern Mindanao has seen increases in acute bloody diarrhea, hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and dengue this year to date.