The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the country’s weather bureau, announced the start of the rainy season end May, warning parts of the country will experience rainfall that will be slightly above normal during June and July. The good news, however, is that the country will not likely experience either the El Nino or La Nina weather phenomena.

With the rains comes the risk of disease. MIMS gives a rundown of the four most common diseases associated with the rainy season in the Philippines.

Dr Eric Tayag, Assistant Health Secretary and Spokesman of the Department of Health, cautioned the public against WILD - the acronym for diseases that people are likely to contract as the country experiences downpours in the next several months.

WILD stands for waterborne diseases, influenza, leptospirosis, and dengue.

Waterborne diseases

Those that fall under the category of waterborne diseases are those that lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, according to Dr Tayag.

The DOH has particularly noted typhoid fever and cholera, which have caused outbreaks in the past.

Typhoid fever is characterized by an eruption of red spots on the chest and abdomen including severe intestinal irritation. Cholera, meanwhile, is an acute diarrhoeal diseases caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or drinks.

According to the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) the typhoid bacteria is present in areas with poor water and sewage sanitation. And symptoms – which include headaches, poor appetite, high fever, lethargy and diarrhoea – appear one to three weeks after exposure to the bacteria.

Depending on the virulence, the disease can be from mild to severe.

Cholera, meanwhile, is transmitted through contaminated water or food, and is foremost linked to insufficient access to safe water and sanitation. Areas with complex emergencies are especially vulnerable to cholera due to non-access to safe sanitation.

Local response to waterborne diseases centred on public health awareness, specifically, in strengthening food safety, according to the Food and Waterborne Disease Control Program, which focuses on families and communities.


The Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) differentiated flu (influenza) from colds as having lengthier symptoms of fever, sore throat, muscle aches, and easy fatigability. However, both are contagious viral infections. Contracting the flu typically suspends daily activities.

It is transmitted from person to person through respiratory secretions, either coughing, sneezing or talking.

PCCP also notes that smokers have a greater chance of contracting flu compared to those who are not tobacco users.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Surveillance (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone older than 6 months, until flu viruses are circulating. PCCP, meanwhile, adds that vaccination should be taken given before the start of the rainy season.


Leptospirosis is contracted when exposed to waters (or vegetation or moist soil) contaminated by urine of infected animals.

In men, this is usually through a break in the skin or through contact with the mucosa lining the eyes, mouth and nose. Human-to-human transmission is rare, according to the WHO.

The disease, with an incubation period of 7 to 10 days, presents with fever, muscle pain, headache, reddish eyes. Severe cases could include damage to either the kidney, liver or brain.

But even before the rainy season set in, the Epidemiology Bureau of the DOH already recorded a higher number of suspected cases of leptospirosis from Jan 1 to May 6 - from 260 cases in the same duration last year to 503 cases or a 93.5 percent increase.

Majority of the cases were male with 88 percent share. So far, 47 deaths have been recorded.

To avoid contracting Leptospirosis, the public is advised against swimming or wading in waters suspected to be contaminated, and if unavoidable, to use self-protection gears such as boots and gloves, and to control rodents - specifically rats - in households.



Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection manifesting with flu-like symptoms. At its worse, it can develop into haemorrhagic fever, a potentially life-threatening disease.

Although there is no specific treatment for dengue, early detection and treatment leads to lower cases of fatality, according to WHO. And presently, the protocol in managing dengue is through fluid resuscitation rather than platelet transfusion.

Rainy weather could allow for collection of stagnant water in a container which becomes a potential mosquito breeding ground.

The Health Department noted a decrease in dengue incidence with 35,973 cases recorded from Jan 1 to May 20, which is 31.8 percent lower compared with the same period last year of 52, 780 cases.

The Philippines recently celebrated the ASEAN Dengue Day, wherein the Health department stressed the importance of strengthening the 4S approach, the foremost preventive method targeting the growth of mosquito-carrying dengue in the community.

The 4S includes Search and destroy breeding grounds, use of Self-protective measures, Seek early treatment, and Say no to indiscriminate fogging. MIMS

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