DOH records 60% increase in leptospirosis cases in NCR

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III on Monday, July 2 said his agency has recorded a 60% increase in leptospirosis cases and 38 fatalities in the National Capital Region as of July 1.

Duque admitted the spike in cases was alarming for the Department of Heath (DOH). “The fact na may namamatay is cause for alarm. Yung nakakalungkot lang dito is this is a preventable disease for as long as everyone does his part,” he said.

(The fact that there are deaths is a cause for a alarm. What is sad is that this is a preventable disease for as long as everyone does his part.)

Duque said the highest number of cases were recorded in the following cities:

Nationwide, the DOH also recorded a 41% increase, with 1,040 leptospirosis cases recorded as of June 16, 2018. (FAST FACTS: What is leptospirosis?)

Why the spike in cases? Duque said the factors that contributed to the rise in cases were the continuous heavy rains and poor garbage collection in barangays.

“Recently we’ve had uninterrupted weeks of continuous heavy downpour and flooding in the metropolis and also parts of Visayas and Mindanao. That is the number one attribution and all the more we should be careful,” Duque said.

He added, “(There is also) Poor garbage collection in the metropolis. We have to remind our LGUs to step up with he enforcement of garbage collection and other related preventive measures.”

What is the DOH doing about it? In response to the rise in leptospirosis cases, Duque said the DOH has given the National Kidney and Transplant Institute about P5 million to treat patients.

The money, he said, will be used to supply medicines and medical supplies, such as Doxycycline – which is used to treat the disease – and cotbeds, among others.

Duque also urged local government units (LGUs) to enforce strict and regular garbage collection and to drain potentially contaminated waters. 

LGUs should also report cases and strengthen information campaigns on leptospirosis to ensure residents are informed of the disease and its symptoms. 

Meanwhile, Duque said the DOH is also pre-positioning medicines to regions nationwide to respond to the increase in number of patients with leptospirosis. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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