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How to Avoid Leptospirosis during Floods in the Philippines

Updated on December 11, 2012

Leptospirosis Cases in the Philippines

During unceasing heavy rains, flooding occurs in most places in the Philippines especially the flood-prone areas. Floodwaters cover the streets and even the houses' floors. Stranded vehicles and people wading through flood waters are common sights anywhere.

During these times the risk of getting leptospirosis from the flood is very high. Leptospirosis is a disease caused by Leptospira bacteria, which found through animal urine such as rats, cows, pigs, carabaos, horses or through other wild and domestic animals infected by the bacteria. The bacteria are then spread through floodwater. The Leptospira bacteria find its way to the body through cuts and wounds on the skin when soak in the flood. It can also enter the body if the contaminated water is swallowed or have entered through the eyes and nose.

“ The August 2012 unceasing heavy rains have flooded almost the entire area of Metro Manila, Philippines and left 34 people dead and around 560 persons were being treated of leptospirosis disease.”

Source

How could you reduce the risk of being infected with leptospirosis during flooding?

Here are valuable steps you can do to avoid getting infected with leptospirosis.


  • Wear the necessary protective clothing and footwear when walking though flood waters such as high rubber boots and waterproof gloves. A face mask is also recommended for added protection.
  • Persons with wounds or skin cut should cover it with waterproof plaster and bandages before soaking in the water.
  • Keep children and elderly out of the flooded area.
  • When walking through the water, move slowly and minimize the splashing to avoid swallowing the contaminated water or getting in your eyes.
  • During flooding season, drinking water must be boiled, if possible only drink safe bottled water.
  • Remember to wash your hands as much as possible, especially before eating or drinking.
  • Take a bath and thoroughly clean your body after soaking in the flood.


Keep in mind that “an ounce of prevention” is still the most effective way of precaution. As much as possible, don’t wade through the flood water. Find an alternate route to your destination. If your house has been flooded, evacuate to higher grounds. If necessary, contact a relative or friend where you can stay until the water receded. Make use of float rafts or makeshift boats along the flooded area. And never ever allow the children to play or swim in the flood.

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