The number of leptospirosis cases are up more than 70 percent in the Philippines this year to date, according to the latest data from the Department of Health. Since the beginning of the year through Aug 5, 910 cases of the bacterial disease have been reported. Of this total, 96 people have died.


“This is 71.1 percent higher compared to the same period as last year (532).

Hardest hit by leptospirosis is the National Capital Region with 172 cases; Davao Region with 112 cases; Western Visayas with 98; Central Luzon with 80; and Eastern Visayas with 72.

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.

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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.

Dengue fever

After reporting more than 200,000 dengue fever cases in the previous two years, Philippine health officials are reporting a significant drop in cases in 2017 year-to-date. A total of 58,598 dengue cases were reported nationwide from January 1 to August 5, 2017. This number is 43.8% lower (104,211) than that for the same period in 2016.

In the past 50 years, the incidence of dengue worldwide has increased 30-fold, largely as a consequence of the growth of cities and increased travel.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue viruses. This disease used to be called “break-bone fever” because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking.

LISTEN: DDT: A history, Silent Spring, the ban and the rise of the mosquitoes–An interview with Dr Jane Orient

People get the dengue virus from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It is not contagious from person to person. For more infectious disease news and informationvisit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

There are three types of dengue fever in order of less severe to most: the typical uncomplicated dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS).

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there may be 50–100 million dengue infections worldwide every year. However, new research from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust, using cartographic approaches, estimate there to be 390 million dengue infections per year worldwide.