Palace assures enough medicine supply for leptospirosis

October 16, 2009 9:48 am 

MANILA, Oct. 16 — Malacanang assured the public that the government has enough supply of medicines for leptospirosis.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, during his weekly media briefing at Malacanang on Friday, said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was informed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III regarding the increasing number of leptospirosis cases after several areas in Metro Manila were flooded during the height of typhoon Ondoy.

Remonde also said the drug firm Pfizer donated medicines for leptospirosis and assured the government would purchase more if needed.

Duque said that leptospirosis has afflicted more people in Metro Manila in the last two weeks than it typically did in an entire year.

In Metro Manila alone, the Department of Health has recorded 1,027 leptospirosis patients, with 89 deaths, for a high 8.6 percent mortality rate.

“The fatality rate of leptospirosis this year could easily be one of the highest ever," according to the DOH chief.

Duque singled out Marikina where the infectious disease spread rapidly, with Tumana, Concepcion, and Malanday as the most affected communities.

Meanwhile, Dr. Eric Tayag, National Epidemiology Center chief, projected that nearly 4,000 people might eventually be afflicted by leptospirosis as floodwaters remained in several areas in Metro Manila.

Tayag assured the government was doing measures to prevent leptospirosis from reaching the projected number of victims.

Leptospirosis is spread through animal urine mixed with floodwater entering openings in human skin.

Dr. Yolanda Oliveros, director of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDPC), said that outbreak levels vary from one area to another.

Duque said the best prevention is to stay out of polluted floodwaters.

Quezon City has recorded the highest number of leptospirosis cases, with 122; followed by Marikina, 82; Manila, 49; Paranaque, 26; Pasig, 25; and Malabon, 24.

Despite the higher mortality rate this year compared to the same period last year, the country's leptospirosis situation remains at the “low end" in Asia.

The DOH said it could end up spending P13.8 million for the 1.3 million people believed to have been exposed to the Leptospira bacterium after wading through Ondoy’s floods.(PNA)



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