Infection Outbreak Hits Flooded Philippine Regions

Posted January 4th, 2012 at 4:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Philippine officials say an outbreak of a deadly water-borne disease has claimed at least four lives in the flood-stricken southern region.

Health officials said Tuesday that 128 cases of leptospirosis have been confirmed and that further 200 people are suspected of being infected. The disease is caused by a deadly bacteria from flood waters.

The bacteria is usually found in the urine of infected animals, especially rats. It typically enters a human body through wounds or broken skin that come into contact with contaminated flood waters. or wet soil.

It can cause headaches, pain, fever, chills and vomiting. In serious cases, it can damage internal organs and lead to death.

The majority of those affected with leptospirosis in the Philippines have waded in flood waters.

The worst affected areas are Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, which were the hardest hit by floods, brought by storm Washi in December. More than 1,200 people were killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Many still live in temporary shelters.