One person has died from the bacterial infection, leptospirosis and the Cordillera Administrative Region in northern Luzon, Philippines has seen a 40 percent rise in the disease during the first six months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, according to The Department of Health-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CAR).

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Baguio City-Public domain image

DOH records showed that Baguio City and Kalinga province had the most number of cases at 21.4%, followed by Benguet and Ifugao provinces (14. 3 %), Apayao (7.1%). Flashfloods in some regions has been linked to the increase.

Geeny Austria, Nurse V of DOH-CAR advised, “Please keep out of flooded areas and wear proper protective gear when going out during rainy season to avoid being infected with the disease.”

Leptospirosis is caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Leptospira interrogans, is often referred to as “rat fever” due to the principal role rats play in spreading the disease (scientists refer this type of animal as a reservoir host).  Other animals can also be important reservoirs of the disease.

These animals can spread the disease in their urine, contaminating water, soil, or food.  People who live in close contact with domestic animals or wildlife are at higher risk for getting the disease.

People become infected by coming into contact with contaminated urine, water, food, or soil through breaks in the skin, eyes, mouth, or nose. Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters. Person to person transmission is rare.

Infected individuals initially experience fever, severe headache and muscle aches, abdominal pain, and occasionally a skin rash. Patients in the later stages of disease can suffer from jaundice, kidney failure, bleeding from the mouth or nose, bloody urine and can be fatal, especially without proper treatment.


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