Leptospirosis cases up 13% in Pangasinan with 10 deaths

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The provincial health office has recorded 45 cases of leptospirosis from January 1 to July 2 this year, 13 percent higher than the 40 cases tallied in the same period last year.

Rodhalia Binay-an, nurse coordinator of the health office’s Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview Friday that 10 patients have already died of leptospirosis, compared to the seven deaths recorded in the same period last year.

“Most of the victims were male, with 34 cases, (aged) 50 to 54 years old. They were farmers, laborers, construction workers or workers in junk shops,” Binay-an said.

Two of those who died were from Sual; Alaminos City (1); Bolinao (1); San Carlos City (1); Manaoag (2); San Nicolas (1) and Dagupan City (2), she said.

She further said that the health office is closely monitoring the towns of Sual, Manaoag, Laoac, Bolinao, Umingan, Sta. Barbara and Urdaneta City, for having a high number of cases among other towns and cities in the province.

“Nagkakaroon ng information dissemination sa mga rural health units sa bawat bayan. Kung may nararamdaman sila matapos magbabad sa baha or tubig ulan, magpacheck- up na dapat (Rural health units in each town are conducting information dissemination. If one feels sick after soaking his/her feet in floodwater or rainwater, he/she should have a check-up immediately),” Binay- an said.

In a previous interview, provincial health officer Dr. Anna Theresa de Guzman, said, “We have intensified our advocacy campaign on maintaining cleanliness of surroundings and proper waste disposal. The causative agent of leptospirosis is lepra, which comes from rat’s urine infected with lepra.”

She cited the need to wear boots when going through flooded areas or stagnant waters, or in muddy soil like in rice fields, as leptospirosis can also be present in mud.

De Guzman also urged the public to immediately consult a doctor if they have been experiencing flu-like symptoms for three to four days.

“They should not self-medicate. Instead, they should go to the nearest health center or hospital for medical check-up and for appropriate medication,” she said.

De Guzman further disclosed that the most common cause of death among victims is late diagnosis of the disease.

“They go to the hospital when it is already at its worst stage, like when they could no longer urinate or their urine is already tea-colored, which might already need dialysis because of renal failure,” she said.

De Guzman added that the health office ensures the availability of medicine and additional qualified doctors to address the needs of patients in the province. Hilda Austria/PNA-northboundasia.com