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Leptospirosis toll in Central Luzon: 3 dead, 128 sick in 2 months

MURKY WATERResidents risk getting diseases as they wade through a flooded street in Balagtas town, Bulacan province. —LYN RILLON

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Leptospirosis killed three men and infected 128 people in Central Luzon as animal urine contaminated floodwaters from July 1 to Aug. 31, a health official said on Tuesday.

The fatalities were residents of Hagonoy town in Bulacan, Angeles City in Pampanga and Paniqui town in Tarlac, according to Dr. Jessie Fantone, spokesperson for the Department of Health (DOH) in the region.

Flu-like symptoms

The DOH noted the rise in the number of cases as rains spawned by the southwest monsoon and four tropical depressions flooded many parts of Central Luzon in the last two months.

Since January, 247 leptospirosis cases had been recorded in the region, 74 percent higher compared to the same period in 2017, Fantone said.

A total of 13 deaths from the disease occurred in the last eight months, seven of them in Nueva Ecija province.

The bacteria causes flu-like symptoms such as high fever, muscle pain, eye redness, chills, severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea or yellowish skin discoloration. Untreated cases lead to kidney failure, brain damage, massive internal bleeding and death.

In Pangasinan province, the number of leptospirosis cases from Jan. 1 to Aug. 27 had reached 207, more than the 88 recorded on the same period last year.

Twenty-six people had died because of the disease, compared to the 13 deaths recorded on the same period last year. Dagupan City posted 60 cases with six deaths, the highest in the province. —Reports from Tonette Orejas and Gabriel Cardinoza

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