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Leptospirosis in the Philippines: Update 1

02 October 2023

The government of the Philippines reports continuing transmission of leptospirosis. From 1 January 2023 to 2 September 2023, there have been 3 728 cases of leptospirosis nationwide. Cases numbers began to increase again following storms and flooding in July.

The six regions affected by the current increase in case numbers are: the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), National Capital Region, Ilocos Region, Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao and Davao Region.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans from the urine of infected animals (often rodents). Infection often occurs from water contaminated by infected animal urine.

Advice for Travellers

Travellers participating in adventure/ecotourism, water-based sports activities, athletic endurance events, mountain biking and military exercises have an increased chance of exposure, especially if travelling to high-risk destinations. Veterinarians and humanitarian relief/aid workers are at risk when travelling overseas to work.

Travellers at increased risk should be advised:

  • of the risk of infection and to seek medical help after potential exposure if they become symptomatic
  • to avoid exposure to potentially contaminated water especially of mucosa (swallowing/inhaling water) and abraded skin (including excoriated insect bites)
  • to wear protective clothing if exposure is unavoidable
  • to cover open skin lesions with waterproof plasters and wash/disinfect any injuries sustained during possible exposure
  • to wash/shower thoroughly after possible exposure

No licensed vaccine is available in the UK for leptospirosis.

For further information, see the TRAVAX Leptospirosis page.