By: Gail T. Momblan
LEPTOSPIROSIS cases in Iloilo province totalled 222 from Jan 1 to Dec 22, 2018, according to the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
Dr. Patricia Grace Trabado, PHO chief, said 14 persons died of the infection last year.
The municipality of Oton topped the list with 39 cases, including three deaths.
Cabatuan town followed with 26 cases and one death, Santa Barbara had 25 cases with two deaths, Alimodian posted 19 cases with two deaths, and Maasin had 14 cases with no death.
Unlike other leptospirosis cases in other parts of the country like Metro Manila that usually occur after flash floods, persons with regular contact with water like farmers are usually infected.
“Ang leptospirosis nagakatabo sa tawo nga exposed sa baha pero sa aton, although occasional lang ang baha, bisan wala baha may mga kaso kita because mga farmers, laborers, and even sa mga sugarcane plantations,” she said.
Trabado noted that municipalities that have the most cases of leptospirosis have abundant rice fields.
“Kon hinali sa tyempo sang tag-gulutom ang mga ilaga, dira man gaguluwa sa talamnan kay kung may tanom nga humay tea mo na pwede nila makaon. So kung mapatay sila ukon mangihi along the way, macontaminate ang tubi,” Trabado said.
Leptospirosis is caused by the Leptospira bacteria, which is spread by rats as the main host.
The bacteria enter humans through open wounds and skin cuts every time they are exposed to urine-contaminated water.
However, some municipalities had recorded cases because farmers working in other places seek treatment in their hometown.
“Mga farmers kung kaisa gakadto sa iban nga banwa magharvest. Indi necessarily naacquire (ang disease) sa ila banwa,” she said.
For instance, a farmer who worked in the province of Antique sought treatment in Tigbauan town, Trabado said.
On the other hand, it was noteworthy that some towns in the province recorded zero case of leptospirosis in 2018.
These are the towns of Barotac Nuevo, Bingawan, Passi City, Guimbal, San Dionisio, Ajuy, Estancia, San Joaquin, Batad, and San Rafael.