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Leptospirosis in the Philippines

18 July 2011

The recent flooding across the Philippines has caused an increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with leptospirosis. This large outbreak is increasing and is due to individuals wading through flood waters infected with Leptospira. In Manila, one hospital has recorded 37 cases and 6 deaths since 1 July 2011. A total of 521 cases of leptospirosis and 38 deaths have been recorded by the Department of Health since the beginning of the year (2011).

Advice for Travellers

Leptospirosis is caused by contact with fresh water, wet soil, or vegetation that has been contaminated by urine of animals that are chronically infected. The infection is transmitted through unhealed breaks in the skin, the eyes, or the mucous membranes. Rats, dogs, cattle, and pigs are the usual reservoirs for this organism. Leptospirosis occurs worldwide and frequently follows flooding after heavy rains.