Leptospirosis also work hazard for farmers, butchers PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 November 2011 16:55

A Department of Health (DOH) official said farmers and butchers could also catch leptospirosis in their work environment.

DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said that although leptospirosis cases normally balloon during the rainy season due to floods, farmers may also contract the disease if the water in the ricefield has been infected with the leptospira bacteria.

“In fact, many of the leptospirosis cases in Western Visayas reported this year involved patients who were working in farms and got exposed to mud infected with leptospira,” said Tayag in Filipino.

Workers in slaughterhouses may also catch leptospirosis if they are exposed to infected animals.

“Leptospirosis is acquired from animals with zoonotic disease,” he said. These are diseases that are naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans and vice-versa.

“Animals associated with leptospirosis are rodents, dogs, as well as other large animals like goats,” Tayag said. “(The) DOH found out that the leptospirosis outbreak in Zamboanga was caused by infected goats.”

Tayag said when people walk through flooded streets, the bacteria in the water will penetrate the body through small cuts in the legs—or in the eyes, when accidentally splashed with the infected water.

“The bacteria normally attack the liver and the kidney. It may also attack the brain or the lungs. The person may experience pulmonary hemorrhage and difficulty in breathing that could lead to death. This is very sudden, very serious,” said Tayag.

The symptoms of leptopirosis are similar to those of the typical influenza. At the onset, the person may experience high fever that may last up to four to ten days, muscle pains, skin discoloration, and reddening eyes.

The patient may also experience difficulty in urinating. “By the time the patient is brought to the hospital, it may be too late,” Tagay warned. “At this stage, (the disease) may have already impaired the kidneys. The patient should receive dialysis treatment; otherwise, he could die in two days.”

Tayag was guest in today’s Talking Points radio program aired over DZRB-Radyo ng Bayan and People’s Television-4. — PIA