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CHO cautions public on leptospirosis


The City Health Office (CHO) urged the public to take necessary precautions to prevent leptospirosis during the rainy season in the country.

City Health Officer Dr. Dulce Miravite said outbreaks of leptospirosis tend to occur after heavy rainfall or flooding, particularly in areas with poor housing and sanitation conditions.

Based on data from both the City Health Office and the Department of Health, there are 21 suspected cases of leptospirosis from January to June in Zamboanga City, of which there are seven mortalities.

“We are monitoring the cases, we are closely coordinating with DOH,” Miravite said.

While the CHO has yet to compute for the threshold for the epidemic and outbreak levels, Miravite assured the public that there is enough supply of prophylaxis for the treatment of leptospirosis and that the CHO will monitor the situation closely and will advise the public accordingly.

“We will monitor, if we reach that time [outbreak], then we will advise,” she said.

Early treatment should immediately be sought if a person is suspected to have been exposed to contaminated floodwater.

Miravite said symptoms of leptospirosis can often be mistaken for the common cold or flu, which includes fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, body pain, and sometimes a skin rash.

Prevention measures for leptospirosis include avoiding contact with floodwater, avoiding food contaminated with floodwater, wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment such as boots, waterproof clothing and gloves if exposure cannot be avoided, and covering open wounds with waterproof dressings.

Additionally, the public is advised to treat unsafe and potentially contaminated drinking water by boiling or chemical treatment, and to keep rodent populations and other pests under control.

Leptospirosis is spread by direct contact with the urine of infected animals which include rodents, dogs, livestocks, pigs, and other wildlife. (Jasmine Mohammadsali/City Hall PR)

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