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PIA Press Release
Tuesday, January 03, 2012


DOH intensifies info campaign on leptospirosis in ‘Sendong’ affected areas

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

OZAMIZ CITY, Misamis Occidental, Jan. 3 (PIA) -- An intensified information, education and communication (IEC) campaign on leptospirosis is being conducted by the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-Region 10.

The campaign is aimed at making people aware of leptospirosis and for them to avail of the medical services to prevent its infection, Dr. Jaime Bernadas, Regional Director of DOH-CHD 10, said.

Bernadas has declared a leptospirosis outbreak in the region after the confirmatory tests on 128 out of 200 suspected patients proved to be caused by the disease.

Dr. David Mendoza, Head of the Regional Epidemiology, Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit (RESDRU) of DOH-10 said the high increase in the number of cases of suspected individuals could probably be associated to complacency or indifference of the people to take the prophylactic dose of Doxycycline. He said that although the people received their ration of the said medicine, many did not take the medication.

Prophylaxis was always available in clinics set up by both DOH and City Health Office (CHO), but it seemed that people failed to take the dose because of inadequacy and insufficient information on leptospirosis.

Mendoza also , said many people, especially, those living outside of evacuation centers (EC’s) came only for the food rations and relief goods but not for the medical consultations.

Hence, the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) teams of DOH has intensified the IEC campaign on leptospirosis in the different EC’s not only in Cagayan de Oro, but also in Iligan City, he said.

Mendoza also said leptospirosis is a water borne disease with high incidence during flooding, which is caused by a group of zoonotic bacterial disease with protean manifestations.

Common features of the ailment are fever with sudden onset, headache, chills, severe myalgia in the calves and thighs and conjunctival suffusion.

Other manifestations that may be present are diphasic fever, meningitis, rash or palatal exanthem, hemolytic anemia, hemorrhage into skin and mucous membranes, hepatorenal failure, jaundice, mental confusion and depression, myocarditis and pulmonary involvement with or without hemorrhage and hemoptysis.

Mendoza said the incubation period for leptospirosis is usually 10 days within a range from two (2) to 30 days.

Leptospirosis cases in region 10 is more or less stable in occurrence, however, as noted in 2009, sudden increase in the number of cases was seen after the flood last Dec. 17, Mendoza said.

One of the reasons for such increase could be because people have insufficient knowledge about leptospirosis, Mendoza added. (PIA-10 Mis. Occ.)

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