Despite the drop in leptospirosis cases in the first 11 months of 2020, the Quezon City government has urged residents to remain cautious and seek consultation if they experience any symptoms of the disease.
Based on the report from the City Health Department (CHD), 58 leptospirosis cases, with three deaths, were recorded in Quezon City from January 1 to November 21, or an 83 percent drop from the 345 cases recorded during the same period last year.
Dr. Rolando Cruz, who heads the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), said the 83 percent decline is attributed to the aggressive prevention campaign and to the urgent medical attention given to responders and communities affected by recent typhoons and flooding.
“We immediately gave antibiotics such as doxycycline to our responders and citizens who were exposed to contaminated flood waters. Thankfully we were able to control the disease so far, and we hope to maintain this until the end of the year,” said Cruz.
Mayor Joy Belmonte called the drop in leptospirosis cases as a welcome development but reminded the citizens to remain wary of the deadly disease.
“We advise our citizens to wear protective gears like boots when they cannot avoid wading through flood waters, and to cooperate with the city during preemptive evacuation so they won’t get infected and risk their lives in the flood,” Belmonte said.
Leptospirosis is an infection caused by leptospira spirochetes bacteria that spreads through the urine or feces of infected animals, especially rats.
It can be contracted by swallowing contaminated food or water, or when the bacteria entered the body through the mouth, nose, and eyes, or through open wounds and cuts.
Cruz advised residents, especially those who stayed in evacuation centers and living in areas affected by the recent flooding, to immediately consult with the City Health Department or the nearest barangay health center if they experience any symptoms of leptospirosis.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, chills, muscle pain, redness of the eye, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and yellowish skin or jaundice. If left untreated, it may even cause kidney failure, massive internal bleeding, and death.
“Leptospirosis is preventable and can be treated. Our advice to residents is to be alert for any symptoms and to seek early consultation,” Cruz stressed.