OFFICIALS of Marikina City have expressed optimism that they can contain the spread of leptospirosis in the city through the distribution of antibiotics and an information drive about the deadly bacterial disease.
The City Health Office (CHO) has started distributing doxycycline capsules to residents of high-risk barangays, including Industrial Valley Complex, Sto. Niño, Calumpang and Tañong.
Earlier, the CHO provided almost 6,000 antibiotic capsules to residents of Barangays Malanday, Concepcion Uno, Tumana and Nangka.
It also gave away medicines to some 100 families who had evacuated to the makeshift ?tent city? at the Marikina Sports Park, and 600 workers of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority who helped in the cleanup operations in Marikina following the onslaught of Tropical Storm ?Ondoy.?
The health office also started an intensive information drive designed to encourage those afflicted with leptospirosis to seek immediate treatment.
?Simple initiatives such as distributing flyers and holding lectures and fora at health centers go a long way in not just fostering increased understanding of leptospirosis but also in quelling the panic created by the disease,? assistant city health officer Dr. Honielyn Fernando said.
Leptospirosis is a life-threatening bacterial infection contracted when contaminated water is swallowed or enters the body through cuts in the skin. The infection is commonly transmitted in floodwaters tainted by the urine of infected rats or other animals.
Symptoms include fever, a red rash, headaches, reddening of the eyes, jaundice, muscle and joint pains, vomiting and fatigue which may appear as early as two days or as late as 21 days after exposure.
Officials said donations of antibiotics continue to pour into Marikina City. Among the recent donors was the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines, which donated 360,000 capsules of doxycycline.