TACLOBAN, Philippines- The current state of central Philippines has led health officials to fear the worst – the rise of bacterial disease. They have even noted the possibility of having to burn human waste due to lack of toilets. Leptospirosis and diarrhea are the two main diseases that have officials worried since exposure to bacteria could lead to other health complications such as liver failure and kidney damage. Dengue, a fatal illness transmitted by mosquitoes, is also another concern due to overcrowding in the centers. Below is a list of information on these three infectious diseases.
Leptospirosis is caused by the bacteria Leptospira, which affects animals and humans. The bacteria is transmitted when cuts in the skin or mucous membranes come in contact with water that has been contaminated by animal urine, such as rats and dogs. Symptoms run from no change to fever, chills, vomiting and jaundice, while severe symptoms include meningitis, hearing loss and liver failure. Effective treatments include the use of penicillin and doxycycline.
Diarrhea is caused by a variety of factors from bacteria to parasites. A significant number of infections are mainly due to exposure to noro or rotaviruses that inflame the gastrointestinal tract and lead to liquid bowel movements. From the loss of fluids people can potentially die from dehydration, salt imbalances and potassium deficiency. Treatment includes the use of antibiotics and increasing fluid intake.
Dengue is an infectious disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus. There is currently no available vaccine for this fever, headache, rash and muscle pain causing disease. Moreover, 50-100 million people are infected yearly while the only method in preventing the infection is to limit exposure to mosquitoes.
To prevent the spread of any bacterial disease, several heath authorities have set up evacuation centers in disease prone areas, acquired donated medicine and several emergency supply kits. Several organizations have even sent over volunteers to quickly hand out water and food supplies. Currently, victims are being immunized against tetanus and measles to prevent outbreaks. Furthermore, 1,270 evacuation centers have been set up to serve over 350,000 people and water filtration systems will soon be distributed.
– Maybelline Martez