By NewsDesk @bactiman63
Philippines health experts are warning the public about the threat of leptospirosis as flooding happens due to heavy rains due to La Niña weather patterns.
Dr. Ma. Theresa Bad-ang, nephrologist and head of Southern Philippines Medical Center-Human Advocate and Retrieval Effort (SPMC-SHARE), urged the public not to wade through floodwaters to avoid the infection.
“If you are wading through floodwaters you have to wear protective gear such as boots and wash your feet thoroughly with soap,” Bad-ang said.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. People (and animals) can get infected when they are exposed to the urine of infected animals. They can also get infected from water, soil, or food contaminated with infected animal urine. Leptospirosis bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, and skin rash. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.
CDC recommends the following to prevent leptospirosis:
- Avoid contact with fresh water or wet soil, as it could be contaminated with animal urine. Don’t wade through, swim in, drink, or swallow water from lakes, rivers, ponds or streams.
- Do not walk outside barefoot. Wear waterproof protective clothing, especially footwear, if you must have contact with water or wet soil.
- Cover any cuts or scratches with waterproof bandages.