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HEALTH ALERT

Floods raise leptospirosis deaths in Dagupan

/ 05:18 AM November 28, 2018

DAGUPAN CITY — Dikes are now being built along riversides to reduce the occurrence of flooding caused by high tides in this coastal city.

High tide has slowed down the draining of floodwaters into the Lingayen Gulf and has triggered an increase in the number of leptospirosis cases here, according to Dr. Ophelia Rivera, city health officer.

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Since August, 15 people have died from leptospirosis while 135 others have contracted the disease, which is caused by bacteria found in animal urine, particularly rats.

Tricycle drivers, fishers

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Rivera said most of the victims were tricycle drivers and fishermen who had to wade through floodwaters. The number of cases increased during August and September when the city was submerged by overflowing water from the Sinocalan River, she said.

The number of leptospirosis deaths here represents a fourth of 61 fatalities recorded in Pangasinan province. Last year, leptospirosis claimed 31 lives, while the number of cases also rose from 191 to 459 (a 140-percent increase).

Aside from Dagupan, the towns of Binmaley, Mangatarem, Mangaldan, San Fabian, Santa Barbara, Calasiao, Bayambang, Manaoag and Aguilar, and San Carlos City have also been placed under the leptospirosis watch list. —Gabriel Cardinoza

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