By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – The Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health-Cordillera reported that leptospirosis cases in the region significantly increased by 40 percent for the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.
Data noted some 28 cases recorded this year compared to the 20 cases during the similar reckoning period last year with one death as a resulted of the dreaded infection similar to the single death due to the same infection during the same period last year.
The recorded leptospirosis cases came from Benguet with 7 or 25 percent of the total reported cases, Kalinga – 5 cases or 17.9 percent, Apayao and Ifugao with 3 cases each or 3.7 percent, Baguio City and Mountain Province with 1 case each or 3.6 percent and non-CAR provinces – 8 or 28.6 percent.
Of the total number of leptospirosis cases, there were 22 males afflicted with the dreaded infection representing 78.7 percent and the ages of affected individuals range from 12 to 58 years with a median of 34.5 years old.
Health official explained that leptospirosis is a group of zoonotic bacterial disease with variable manifestations and it is characterized by sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, severe myalgia (calves and thighs) and conjunctival suffusion.
Other manifestations that can be present in infected individuals are diphasic fever meningitis, rash (palatal exanthema), hemolytic anemia, hemorrhage into skin and mucus membranes, hepato-renal failure, jaundice, mental confusion and depression, myocarditis and pulmonary involvement with or without hemorrhage and hemoptysis.
Diseases transmission may be through skin contact, especially if abraded, or of mucus membranes with moist soil, vegetation like rice fields, sugarcane plantations contaminated with the urine of infected animals or contaminated water as in swimming, wading in fold waters, accidental immersion or occupational abrasion; direct contact with urine or tissues of infected animals; rarely through drinking of water or ingestion of food contaminated with urine of infected animals, often rats, through inhalation of droplets aerosols of contaminated fluids.
Health officials warned individuals into wading through floodwaters with open wounds in their bodies because it could be the means by which they will be able to contract the dreaded infection that would pose a serious threat to their lives, thus, parents must advise their children not to wade through floodwaters during the rainy season to prevent them from contracting the illness that will affect their lives.