MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 1,194 cases of leptospirosis from Jan. 1 to Sept. 2 this year, 37.7 percent higher than the 867 reported in the same period last year.
In its latest report, made available Thursday, the DOH Epidemiology Bureau also recorded 119 deaths over the period, compared to only 98 in the same span of time last year.
Most of the cases were found in the National Capital Region (261); Central Luzon (131); Western Visayas (128); Ilocos region (122); and Davao region (119).
Leptospirosis is caused by the Leptospira bacteria, which enters the body through cuts or abrasions on the skin, or through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes when a person comes in contact with floodwaters or moist soil contaminated with the urine of infected animals, especially rats.
Its symptoms include high fever, muscle pain, headache, redness of the eyes, chills, and tea-colored urine. It could lead to kidney failure and in some cases, affects the lungs and brain.
To avoid contracting the disease, the DOH advises the public not to swim or wade in potentially contaminated water or floodwaters; use proper protection such as boots and gloves when work exposes one to contaminated water; and drain potentially contaminated water.
People must also control rats at home by using traps or poison and maintain cleanliness of surroundings.