No need to declare outbreak of leptospirosis in DagupanPhilippine Daily Inquirer
DAGUPAN CITY— The number of leptospirosis deaths here in a month may be unusually high, but a health official sees no need to declare an outbreak.
Dr. Leonard Carbonell, city health officer, said 24 leptospirosis cases were recorded at the peak of the disease in the third week of August. Seven of them have died.
Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria found in the urine of animals, especially rats. It usually takes 10 days for the disease to manifest in a person.
According to the World Health Organization, an outbreak is the occurrence of cases of disease in excess of what is normally expected in a defined community, geographical area or season.
Carbonell said he expected a high number of leptospirosis cases in this coastal city due to prolonged flooding in several villages early this month because of monsoon rains.
“Those who died sought medical attention when the disease had already affected their internal organs. It was too late,” he said. “They actually died within 24 hours upon admission [to the hospital].”
As of Sunday, no new case had been reported.
“We are now on fever watch, looking for residents with fever and encouraging them to see a doctor immediately. But we are doing mass prevention [by distributing the antibiotic] doxycycline in areas that were flooded,” Carbonell said.
On Friday, Pangasinan Rep. Ma. Georgina de Venecia distributed some 70,000 doxycycline capsules to health workers in the flood-prone villages for distribution to the residents. The health workers will instruct them on the proper use of the drug, Carbonell said.
Leptospirosis was first recorded here in 2009, in the aftermath of massive flooding due to heavy rains dumped by Typhoon “Pepeng” and excess water released by San Roque Dam in San Manuel town.
At that time, 39 cases were reported, with two deaths, Carbonell said. In 2010, only six cases and three deaths were reported and last year, 29 cases and two deaths. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon