Philippines health officials today declared a leptospirosis outbreak in the Metro Manila area as the number of cases have increased dramatically in recent weeks.

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

From January 1 to July 3, 2018, a total of 368 leptospirosis cases, with 52 (CFR=14%) deaths, has been reported from Metro Manila.

A sudden increase in the number of cases was observed from June 10 to July 3 (N=105). This is 38% higher compared to the average number of cases reported in the previous five years (N=76). Reported cases clustered and exceeded the epidemic threshold in the following cities from June 10 to July 3 of this year: Quezon City (40 cases in 9 barangay), Taguig (16 cases in 4 barangay), Paranaque (6 in 2 barangay), and Pasig (4 in 1 barangay).

The Department of Health has alerted the hospitals in the region to be prepared to admit and manage cases and appropriately refer them to specialty hospitals, if needed. Detection and reporting of cases were enhanced in health centers and hospitals. Additional medical personnel were deployed to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute along with drugs and medicines needed for treatment of cases.

Capillaria philippinensis: First described in the 1960s in the Northern Philippines

Leptospirosis can be acquired by exposure to flood water, mud or food contaminated by urine of infected animals such as rats, pigs, dogs, cattle and goats. Cases usually present with flu-like symptoms, followed by leg pain. Severe cases may experience yellowish discoloration of the eyes and skin and tea-colored urine. Untreated cases may lead to kidney failure or death.

The DOH advises the public to avoid wading and walking in flooded and muddy areas and ensure that food are well cooked and stored. “Patients with Leptospirosis-like symptoms should be brought immediately to the nearest health care facility for proper diagnosis and treatment”, Sec Duque emphasized.