DAGUPAN CITY — The City Health Office (CHO) here recorded 34 cases of leptospirosis from August 1 to 31 this year, which reflects a 143 percent increase from 14 cases during the same period last year.
City health officer, Dr. Ophelia Rivera, in an interview Monday, attributed the increase in the number of leptospirosis cases to the severe and prolonged flooding in the city, which began on July 21.
The city was placed under state of calamity due to flooding caused by torrential rain brought by weather disturbances and aggravated by high tide.
Rivera said of the 31 barangays of the city, only 12 barangays had no case of leptospirosis.
From the 19 barangays with cases of leptospiros, Rivera said, nine patients died because of the disease.
She noted the fatalities were from barangays Calmay, Carael, Mamalingling, Salisay, Poblacion Oeste, Pugaro, and Lasip Grande.
The first case was recorded on August 1 or several days after the start of the massive flooding in the city, she said.
“These are the people who were not able to take leptospirosis prophylaxis. Siguro yong iba (maybe some), they were not aware that they were exposed to water contaminated (with urine of rats), o masama na ang pakiramdam pero hindi nagpa-check-up (or they were not feeling well but refused to see a doctor for a check-up),” she said.
Rivera, however, said this is not yet considered an outbreak since the higher number of cases are expected due to aftermath of the calamity experienced by the city.
Distribution of prophylaxis continues while the barangay officials are being advised to conduct clean-up drive not only to prevent leptospirosis but also dengue.
Rivera said their supply of prophylaxis is limited, but she has requested additional supply from the Department of Health (DOH).
She added that Mayor Belen Fernandez directed the city health office to conduct citywide distribution of prophylaxis after flood water started rising last July 21.
“At that time, we have low supply of prophylaxis, so we posted it on Facebook, asking for help. There were private individuals and associations who sent supplies of the medicine and eventually, supplies from the DOH Region 1 and from Pangasinan Provincial Health Office arrived and the city government also purchased,” Rivera said.
“On the second wave of flooding, DOH again sent more supply of prophylaxis. At the onset of the third wave of flooding, we again requested for additional supply as we only have limited supply,” she added.
Meanwhile, for athlete’s foot, or “alipunga”, Rivera said the CHO is making available anti-fungal ointment from DOH, and they are expecting additional supply this week.
“Sa tagal na nabababad sa baha ang mga paa ng ilang mga residente, nagiging problema ang alipunga. Panawagan namin sa ating mga kababayan, maiging magpa-checkup sila sa city health office para maagapan at makita kung may infection (For a long time, the feet of some of the residents were submerged into floodwaters, athlete’s foot has become a problem. We call out our city mates, better consult with us here at the CHO, so that it will be treated and we will be able to see if there is infection),” she said. Liwayway Yparraguirre/PNA-northboundasia.com