The Pangasinan Provincial Health Office (PHO) is reporting a surge in leptospirosis cases, seeing a 231 percent increase compared to the same time last year.

Leptospirosis/Philippines DOH Facebook page
Leptospirosis/Philippines DOH Facebook page

Through Sept. 24, the PHO has reported 372 cases and 47 fatalities. Males accounted for the bulk of the cases in the province.

This compares with 110 cases reported during the same nine months in 2017.

Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Anna Teresa de Guzman said

cases in Pangasinan soared starting last month when the province was hit by severe flooding brought by typhoon-intensified monsoon rains.

This month, the province again experienced massive flooding due to Typhoon ‘Ompong’.

Dagupan City reported the most cases with 111 and 13 deaths.

Leptospirosis is a disease spread by animal urine. People get infected when they come in contact with urine of infected animals or with urine-contaminated water, soil, or food.

Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, stomach pain, diarrhea, and rarely, a rash. This disease can be deadly and in the more severe cases can cause kidney or liver failure, meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain), or bleeding in the lungs.

Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the risk of acquiring leptospirosis can be greatly reduced by not swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine, or eliminating contact with potentially infected animals.

Protective clothing or footwear should be worn by those exposed to contaminated water or soil because of their job or recreational activities.