By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials in the Western Visayas are advising the public to be aware of leptospirosis this rainy season.

Image/Philippines DOH

According to the Department of Health CHD-6 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU), from January 1 to July 6, they have recorded 98 cases and 11 deaths, mostly in farmers.

While the number is lower that last year, officials warn the number may still increase.

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.

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

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