6 die as dengue, leptospirosis cases climb in Cordillera

BAGUIO CITY — Six people succumbed to dengue and leptospirosis in the past seven months in the Cordillera, as cases of the weather-induced virus infections climbed in the highland region amid the unabated heavy monsoon rains.

Geeny Anne Austria, a nurse at the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health (DOH) in Cordillera, said Tuesday the number of dengue cases in the region nearly doubled this year to 2,447 from 1,430 in the same period last year, with five deaths registered from Jan. 1 to Aug. 4 this year.

Last year, dengue took the lives of three people, she said.

On leptospirosis, Austria said the uptrend is 32 percent, recording 41 cases this year from 31 cases in the same period in 2017. One death was noted in Benguet province this year.

For dengue, Benguet recorded the most cases with 656; Kalinga had 522; Apayao, 448; Abra, 317; Baguio City, 268; Mountain Province, 129; and Ifugao, 107.

As for leptospirosis, Benguet again recorded the most cases, with eight; Baguio and Kalinga had five each; Apayao and Ifugao with four each; Abra has two cases, while Mountain Province has one.

There were also 12 cases involving residents from non-Cordillera provinces, who sought medical aid in the region, Austria said.

She said dengue and leptospiros tend to peak on rainy days, as breeding sites for the viruses, such as floods, develop.

“The number of dengue cases may peak during the rainy season and my reach widespread proportions if preventive measures of are not taken,” the government nurse warned.

She urged the public to follow the four “S” as a control measure. Search and destroy breeding sites by cleaning the surroundings and preventing the accumulation of water; Self-protection measures must be put in place, such as healthy lifestyle and developing stamina and resistance to illnesses; Seek early consultation when suffering from two days of continuous fever; Say no to indiscriminate fogging.

She explained that most of the cases involved manual laborers or those engaged in construction and farming.

She said the infection could have been prevented with the use of protective gears like rain boots and washing and disinfecting after exposure to flood or contaminated water or soil.

The leptospira virus, she explained, comes from the urine or tissues of infected animals like rats.

Austria urged the public to watch out for symptoms, such as fever, headache, chills, rashes, and jaundice.

“If there is no reason to go out, stay home and be safe,” she advised the public.

The health department is keeping a close eye on health issues that normally arise during the rainy season, especially dengue and leptospirosis, which have caused deaths in different parts of the country. PNA-northboundasia.com