One of the more common diseases that can be contracted during the rainy season is leptospirosis and to prevent infection, the Department of Health reminds the public to 1) not swim in flood waters; 2) wear protective gear; and 3) keep surroundings clean.

Pathogens may come from flood waters, moist dirt or plants contaminated by urine of infected rats. In the Philippines, infected rodents are the most common source of infection.

The Health department warned that leptospirosis can kill.

The infection presents with fever, chills, joint pains, reddening of the eyes, yellowish skin, decreased amount of urine, and headache.

In particular, residents who are experiencing fever for at least two days should immediately consult a healthcare provider.

According to the Health department's disease surveillance arm, the Epidemiological Bureau, 772 suspected leptospirosis cases were reported from January 1 to July 1, a number 93.6 percent higher than that of the same period last year, when only 373 cases were recorded.

Those affected ranged from 1 year old to 76 years old, with majority of the cases belonging to the 25 to 29 age group.

Already, 76 have succumbed to the disease, and 20 percent of the fatalities are from the 50 to 54 age group.

National Capital Region accounted for most of the cases, followed by Region IX, Region VI, Region X, and Region VIII.

The DOH further reminded the public to separate their trash, segregating the biodegradable from the non-biodegradable, to dispose of trash responsibly and to recycle.

According to the World Health Organization, people working in farms, pet shops, sewers, abattoir, meat handling, as well as military personnel, survivors of national disasters, and people engaging in water sports are at risk for leptospirosis.

Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually reported following natural disasters such as massive flooding. MIMS

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