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PIA Press Release
2009/10/24

DOH intensifies campaign against leptospirosis

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (24 October) -- Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III issued a memorandum - to all DOH bureaus, services, Center for Health Development Directors, hospitals and other attached agencies – to work for the prevention and control of "leptospirosis,". This was announced by Center for Health and Development (CHD-CAR) Director Dr Myrna Cabotaje during a kapihan forum Wednesday.

"Due to the alarming number of cases of Leptospirosis in some areas of the country, we have an immediate instruction from the Secretary of Health on giving Prophylaxis, to possible Leptospirosis cases and we have just received the guidelines on giving it. The Office of the Health Secretary is also set to provide us with medicine stocks for such purpose," Cabotaje said.

Cabotaje also confirmed that that there are three cases of leptospirosis monitored in Cordillera. She informed that they are still looking for the details of the cases.

"We would look into our evacuees and responders na nababad sa baha at hindi lang sa baha, dahil maaari din na makuha ang naturang sakit sa lupa at halaman na na-contaminate," Dr Cabotaje added.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease affecting both humans and animals. The stages of the disease may include fever, severe headache, muscle pains, chills, redness in the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, hemorrhages in skin and mucous membrane (including pulmonary bleeding), vomiting, diarrhea and rash.

Antibiotic prophylaxis (Doxycycline) is reported to give some degree of protection to exposed individuals from non-endemic areas. Identified cases of human infection must be confirmed, or a large number of cases suspected, before the general population is issued prophylactic medication.

Prophylaxis is begun one to two days before and continuing through the period of exposure. A full prophylactic course of treatment is required if exposure is known to have occurred. Prophylaxis for Leptospirosis may be achieved by the administration of doxcycline to frontline responders (such as rescue personnel and health workers) in areas with a high risk of exposure to Leptospirosis.

In a related news, the DOH, Thursday, signed a memorandum of agreement with five PhilHealth-accredited private medical facilities where the government, can refer leptospirosis patients that state hospitals can no longer accommodate. The DOH, through the MOA, will subsidize the financial requirements of patients that it will refer to these hospitals.

The five private-owned medical facilities that signed the MOA today are: Capitol Medical Center, MCU-F.D. Tanchoco Medical Foundation Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital, Los Baños Doctors Hospital, and The Medical City. (PIA) [top]

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