The number of suspected leptospirosis cases recorded so far this year has already reached 581 - nearly double that of cases recorded in the same period last year.

The surveillance report from the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health (DOH) tracked the disease from January 1 to June 3 this year.

In comparison, only 308 cases were recorded last year (during the same period), thus showing an increase rate of 91.1 percent.

Majority of the cases were males which made up 87.4 percent of the total cases.

Patients’ ages ranged from 1 to 71 years old, with most of the cases belonging in the 20-24 age group.

There were 57 deaths, a quarter of which belonged to the 5-9 age group, or 28.57 percent.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease manifesting with fever, muscle pain, headache, calf-muscle and reddish eyes.

Its treatment includes antibiotic prescribed by the physician, and early detection to avoid complications. Untreated leptospirosis can progress to kidney and brain involvement.

Most of the cases occurred in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 17.9 percent, Western Visayas with 12.7 percent, Davao with 12.4 percent, Northern Mindanao with 9.5 percent, then Eastern Visayas with 8.6 percent.

The disease is likewise included in the WILD, an acronym for the common rainy season diseases the Department of Health (DOH) coined to warn the public. Other diseases include water-borne diseases, influenza and dengue.

Preventive measures include use of proper protection like boots and gloves, controlling the rat population in the area, drainage of potentially contaminated water and avoidance of swimming or wading in potentially contaminated water or flood waters.

Farmers, mine workers, sewer workers, slaughterhouse workers, veterinarians and animal caretakers, fish workers, dairy farmers and military personnel are at more risk of getting leptospirosis.

Those who engage in kayaking, wading and rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers are likewise at risk. MIMS

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