DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 July) – Davao Region has the most number of leptospirosis cases in Mindanao in the first six months this year, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
The disease surveillance report of the DOH from January to June 25 disclosed that Davao Region recorded 56 cases, a 107.4-percent increase from last year’s 27 cases.
The deadly infection, which is commonly transmitted to humans from water that has been contaminated by animal urine, downed three people.
The figure placed Davao at third in the reported nationwide cases of 521, behind Western Visayas (131) and Bicol Region (64).
The heavy rainfall and flooding in Davao this year may have contributed to the high number of leptospirosis cases in the region, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said on Tuesday.
“The rainy season is just beginning, so we are reiterating our advice to the people to prevent leptospirosis by avoiding, as much as possible, wading in floodwaters, and to wear boots if it cannot be avoided,” said Ona.
Davao was followed by Caraga Region, which recorded a 560-percent increase (from 5 cases last year to 33 this year), among the regions in Mindanao.
Next were Western Mindanao (Region 9) and Northern Mindanao (Region 10) with 14 and 8 cases, respectively.
Central Mindanao (Region 12) posted 3 cases while Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has no reported case of the killer disease.
A few months back, flash floods and landslides brought about by incessant rains have taken toll on an estimated 2,745 families or 12,205 individuals in 49 barangays in the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur.
The Davao del Norte Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) last month recorded that five towns and one city were flooded, affecting thousands.
A flash flood also struck five villages in Talomo District two weeks ago that killed 30 people, mostly children, and left several families homeless.
This year’s nationwide cases of leptospirosis is 65.4-percent higher compared to the same period last year, wherein 315 cases were reported with 38 deaths, the DOH said.
Victims’ ages ranged from less than one month to 72 years old. Majority (86.8%) of the cases were men. Most (20.7%) of the cases belonged to the more than 40-year-old age group.
Leptospirosis’ signs and symptoms include fever, chills, intense headache. In extreme cases, complications like meningitis, renal failure, respiratory distress, may arise and lead to death.
Dr. Eric Tayag, who heads the Department of Health (DOH)-National Epidemiology Center (NEC), advised the public to know the disease so they would know how to avoid it, and learn how to recognize its symptoms so they would know when to seek medical treatment.
“If you have any of its symptoms, you must go to the hospital immediately because it can kill you due to renal or kidney failure,” he said in a press statement. (Rico Biliran / MindaNews)