Even a small drop of contaminated water to an eye may be enough for a person to catch leptospirosis, Secretary Francisco Duque III of the Department of Health (DOH) warned yesterday.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection usually transmitted through flood water contaminated with rodent wastes. It can be fatal if not treated.
The DoH has declared a leptospirosis outbreak in 18 barangays in Metro Manila, with 368 cases – 52 fatal – from January 1 to June 3 this year.
“If you have a wound on your foot and you waded through flood water, or you had a droplet reaching an eye then you might get leptospirosis,” said Duque, speaking in Filipino.
Worse, if one drinks water contaminated with the bacteria then getting leptospirosis is almost a certainty, he added.
Duque asked local government units to help fight leptospirosis by conducting clean-up drives, helping manage floods and ensuring the timely collection of garbage.
Leptospirosis may also come from the urine of cats, pigs, goats and from contaminated mud.