DOH braces for surge in leptospirosis cases
In anticipation of an increase in the number of leptospirosis cases in the country with the onset of the rainy season, the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said that it has prepared measures to address the issue.
“We directed public hospitals to have evidenced-based, best practice clinical management of each of the leptospirosis cases,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press briefing held at East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City.
As part of the preparation of the DOH, Duque ordered the City Health Offices (CHOs) and local epidemiology units to conduct massive health education campaign, investigation of cause of contacts or source of infection together with local government units (LGUs) surveillance units, immediate reporting of suspected cases to the referral hospitals, and provision of prophylaxis.
“As the rainy days are here, then you’ll expect additional cases of leptospirosis,” Duque said.
He assured that there is sufficient supply of medicines in hospitals in anticipation of the rise in leptospirosis cases’ admission in medical facilities, such as National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI) after continuous rain last June.
“We are prepositioning some more to complement the stocks of the regions and LGUs. And in NKTI, we’re going to download PHP5 million to support their operations and management of leptospirosis,” he said.
Duque earlier said the rise in the leptospirosis cases could be attributed to the inefficient garbage collection which compounds the issue of rodent infestation.
The leptospirosis bacteria mainly come from the urine of rats mixed with floodwater.
Meanwhile, Duque said the local government units can help through active participation in the “RIDE” strategy, which stands for Rodent control, Improving flood control program, Draining of potentially contaminated water, and Effective and strict enforcement of garbage collection.
From January to July 1, there were 261 cases of leptospirosis recorded in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“This is 78 percent higher compared to the same period last year,” he added.
Quezon City remains to be on top of the list with 97 cases; followed by Manila with 29; Taguig, 26; Paranaque, 20; and Caloocan, 18.
Some of the cases of leptospirosis recorded in Quezon City were in barangays Commonwealth, Pinagbuhatan, Bagong Silanganan, Novaliches Proper, Payatas, Pinyahan, and Vasra.
Most of the patients in NCR were treated and confined at NKTI, EAMC, Rizal Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, and Jose Rodriguez Medical Center.
In a recent visit of DOH officials to some hospitals in NCR, NKTI was noted to have the most number of admissions with a total of 71 cases. It is followed by EAMC with 51 cases; Rizal Medical Center, 13; Jose Rodriguez Medical Center, 10 cases.
Duque said leptospirosis, being a waterborne disease, is preventable but those infected with the bacteria won’t immediately recognize the danger in delaying to consult a physician.
In NCR alone, there were cases of leptospirosis that resulted to 40 deaths, according to DOH data.
“The fact that people are dying from leptospirosis is really a cause for alarm. But what is saddening is this is a preventable disease for as long as everybody does his part,” Duque said. (PNA)