Three people have died and dozens more sickened as leptospirosis surges in Central Luzon since July 1. According to local media, from July 1 through Aug. 31, 128 people have been infected due to animal urine contaminated flood waters.

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

A southwest monsoon and four tropical depressions are the cause of the flooding of the region in recent months.

The three deaths in Central Luzon were recorded in Hagonoy town in Bulacan, Angeles City in Pampanga and Paniqui town in Tarlac

Since January, 247 leptospirosis cases had been recorded in the region, 74 percent higher compared to the same period in 2017, according to health officials.

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.

LISTEN: Philippines: Manila Leptospirosis outbreak update with Dr. Ted Herbosa

The following steps should be taken to prevent the disease:

  • Avoid contact with water or soil that may be contaminated with animal urine.
    • Don’t wade, swim in, or drink or swallow water from lakes or rivers that may be contaminated.
  • Cover any cuts or abrasions, and wear waterproof protective clothing, especially footwear, if you must have contact with water that might be contaminated.
  • Talk to your health care provider about taking medicine to help prevent leptospirosis if you cannot avoid contact with potentially contaminated water or soil. Be sure to tell your health care provider about all your planned activities.