Health secretary warns of rat-borne disease in flooded areas

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/15 July) – Leptorpirosis is the new problem flooded communities may to face after the water had subsided, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.

Ona told MindaNews the flooded areas especially those with high rat populations are prone to the disease.

The cities of Davao and Cotabato and other areas of Mindanao had experienced flooding in the past months this year.

He said the disease can be prevented by not wading in floodwaters or by using protective wear if doing so is unavoidable.

Leptospirosis, an infection usually transmitted to humans through water contaminated by animal urine commonly rats, comes in contact with cuts in the skin, eyes, or with the mucous membranes.

Among the symptoms are fever, chills and intense headache. Complications like meningitis, renal failure, and respiratory distress may arise and lead to death.

The DOH put this year’s nationwide cases of leptospirosis as 65.4-percent higher compared to the same period last year, wherein 315 cases were reported with 38 deaths.

Ona was in town to visit the provincial government of Bukidnon’s health facilities and systems, including provincial hospitals and the Provincial Indigency Health Program, which he said were “very impressive”.

He accompanied Dr. Shin Young Soo, the Western Pacific Regional Director of the World Health Organization to the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center.

The two officials attended the Universal Health Care Conference for Northern and Western Mindanao in Cagayan de Oro City this week. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)