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There is no outbreak of Leptospirosis cases in the Province of Iloilo.
This was clarified by Provincial Administrator Raul Banias and Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ma. Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon yesterday (August 17) in a quickly called press conference at the Capitol.
Banias said there is an increase in the occurrence of Leptospiros in several towns of the province but it is not yet considered an outbreak.
Outbreak is a term used in epidemiology to describe an occurrence of disease greater than would otherwise be expected at a particular time and place.
The Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (PESU) of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) recorded only 12 new Leptospirosis cases for the period August 6-13, 2011.
However, clustered cases have been noted in Barangays Gaub and Pungtod in Cabatuan and Paloc Sool in Dumangas.
Quiñon said they have already alerted the health workers in the said barangays to keenly monitor the situation.
She said the municipalities have their own supplies of Doxycycline, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, but the provincial government has also allotted an additional P150,000 for the purchase of the said drug.
Banias assured that the provincial government is on top of the situation and that the Leptospirosis cases are manageable.
Quiñon said the rise in Leptospirosis cases could be attributed to the rainy season and at the same time the resurgence of rat infestation.
It was learned that hundreds of hectares of rice lands in several towns of the province are currently hit by rat infestation.
This is the reason why most of those affected by Leptospirosis are farmers and mostly males.
She thus warned farmers to avoid wading on the farm if they have open wounds.
Leptospirosis infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, the eyes, or with the mucous membranes.
Meanwhile, representatives from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emerging Disease Surveillance and Response are currently in Iloilo to help monitor and address the rising Leptospirosis cases.
They have offered assistance by providing rapid test kits to be used in Iloilo Provincial Hospital in Pototan and the district hospitals of Dumangas, Calinog, and Cabatuan.
PHO data show that from January 1 to August 13, 2011 the Leptospirosis cases in the province reach a total of 181 with 14 deaths.
The top six municipalities with the most number of recorded Leptospirosis cases are: Cabatuan – 38 (1 death), Dumangas – 27 (4 deaths), Sta. Barbara – 17 (1 death), Mina – 10, New Lucena – 8 and (1 death), Oton – 8 (1 death). (ECGarcia/ Capitol News)