The Department of Health reported 910 cases of leptospirosis from Jan. 1 to Aug. 5 this year, 71.1 percent higher than last year’s 532.
Of the total, 172 came from the National Capital Region followed by Davao Region with 112 cases. Western Visayas tallied 98 cases, Central Luzon with 80 cases, and Eastern Visayas with 72 cases.
Eastern Visayas was also recorded to have the highest increase in cases at 620 percent. Davao Region followed with 558 percent increase, Central Visayas with 390 percent, Caraga Region with 240, and Cagayan Valley with 103 percent.
Furthermore, from last year’s 50 deaths or 9.40 fatality rate, the number of deaths also increased this year with 96 fatalities or 10.55 fatality rate.
Centers for Disease Control Prevention define leptospirosis as a “bacterial disease that affects humans and animals caused by bacteria of the genus leptospira” which is found in the urine of infected animals like pigs, dogs, horses, cattle, rats, and other rodents.
Symptoms in humans include high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, yellowing of the skin and eyes, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rashes. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.
Leptospirosis can be prevented by not swimming in water that might be contaminated with animal urine, wearing protective clothing or footwear in possible contaminated soil and water.
Treatment of the virus include antibiotics usually given in the early stages of the infection. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.