LINGAYEN–The Provincial Health Office (PHO) has declared a province-wide red alert status for leptospirosis as the number of cases from various towns continued to rise in the rainy month of August.
Dr. Anna de Guzman, provincial health officer, said there is a significantly high number of confirmed leptospirosis cases being admitted in various government hospitals, particularly at the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital (PPH) in San Carlos City and the Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC) in Dagupan City.
PPH already reported five deaths due to leptospirosis since the start of the year while those confined and treated are increasing.
De Guzman also reiterated that on order of Gov. Amado T. Espino Jr., all confirmed cases of leptospirosis would be treated in provincial government-run hospitals for free provided that they stay in the ward during their period of confinement.
She called on persons suffering from fever after wading in flood waters to go to the nearest hospital for early detection of the disease as deaths usually occur when the patients are already in a late stage and already suffering from renal failure.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include flu-like signs such as fever and headache, and, in advanced stages, reddening of the eyes and yellowing of the skin.
R1MC, meanwhile, recorded nine deaths, six of whom are from Dagupan City and the three others from Binmaley and San Fabian, according to Dr. Michael Canto, R1MC spokesperson.
Two other fatalities from Dagupan reportedly died in private hospitals.
Canto said in August alone, they admitted 36 persons confirmed to be afflicted with leptospirosis, 31 of whom were adults and the five others were children.
With the rising cases of the disease, R1MC has likewise raised a red alert status and set up an express lane for leptospirosis as well as for dengue.
PPO, on the other hand, reported that the number of dengue cases had gone down in August as the flood may have washed away the larvae and breeding places of mosquitoes.
Canto lamented that in previous years, most of the cases afflicted with leptospirosis were farmers and fishpond caretakers.
However, to date, those being afflicted include children and housewives.
In a related development, Fourth District Rep. Gina de Venecia brought on Thursday 70,000 capsules of doxycycline prophylaxis for distribution as a pre-emptive measure against leptospirosis in Dagupan.
Bought with De Venecia’s congressional fund, the medicine will be distributed by health workers and De Venecia’s staff initially to barangays Bacayao Norte, Bacayao Sur, Caranglaan, Lasip Grande, Lasip Chico, Malued, Pogo Grande, Pogo Chico, Lucao, Mayombo and Pantal, which had been flooded for three weeks now.
Dr. Leonard Carbonell, city health officer, said he is alarmed by the number of casualties, reporting seven deaths from leptospirosis in barangays Poblacion Oeste (2), Bonuan Gueset (2), Mayombo (1), Malued (1), and Pantal (1).
The victims reportedly sought medical examination too late and died within 24 hours upon admission in hospitals for treatment, Carbonell said.
All the casualties were males aged from 19 to 57 years old. The youngest case was an eight-year old female. Of the 25 cases in August, three were females.
Last year, the City Health Office here recorded 29 cases with two deaths. –with reports from Eva Visperas and PIA-Pangasinan