DOH declares leptospirosis outbreak in 18 barangays in Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   July 5, 2018   •   7012

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III formally declared Thursday (July 5) an outbreak of leptospirosis in several barangays in Metro Manila.

These barangays are Barangays Bagbag (3 cases); Silangan (5 cases); Batasan Hills (9 cases); Commonwealth (7 cases); Novaliches Proper (4 cases); Payatas (5 cases); Pinyahan (3 cases); and Vasra (4 cases) in Quezon City; Lower Bicutan (5 cases); Maharlika Village (3 cases); Signal Village (4 cases); and Western Bicutan (4 cases) in Taguig City; Barangay Pinagbuhatan (4 cases) in Pasig City; BF Homes (3 cases) and San Dionisio (3 cases) in Paranaque City; Barangay North Bay Blvd. South (3 cases) in Navotas City; Barangay Addition Hills (3 cases) in Mandaluyong City; and barangay Concepcion (3 cases) in Malabon City.

DOH said there was a significant increase in the number of leptospirosis cases in the said areas with 105 cases in just one month from June 10 to July 3, 2018. This is way higher than 76 cases during the same period last year.

The agency added that the figure this year surpassed the combined number of cases from 2013 to 2017 by 38 percent.

“It has breached what is known as the epidemic threshold. Epidemic threshold means that the average incidence or number of cases over the last five years has been exceeded by the number of cases that we have reported,” Duque explained.

DOH explained that while the public’s common knowledge of leptospirosis is that which acquired from wading through floodwater, there are other means that the leptospira bacteria may penetrate the body other than an open wound.

“Ang leptospirosis is not only transmitted through rats. Pwede siya sa dogs, sa farm, sa mga cattle. Kung nag-aalaga ka ng baboy, pwede ring sa baboy makuha mo ang lepto. Hindi rin kailangan na although very common iyong sa flood water but pwede rin kahit wala sa flood at meron diyan infected na animal, umihi at binungkal mo iyong lupa pwedeng iyong aerosole noon na may infection pwede kang magkasakit ng Lepto.,” warned Dr. Ferchito Avelino, Director 4 of DOH’s  Epidemiology Bureau.

To date, leptospirosis cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) has soared to 368 and 52 recorded deaths.

DOH  advised immediate medical consultation for individuals showing symptoms of leptospirosis infection such as fever, muscle pain, redness of the eyes, yellowing of the skin, urine discoloration, cough, vomiting and diarrhea, — Aiko Miguel / Marje Pelayo

Professors fear ‘militarization’ may invite abuse vs students, teachers

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Teachers and professors in Metro Manila are opposing the proposed police and military presence in campuses across the country.

According to University of the Philippines (UP) Chancellor Mike Tan, the alleged militarization of educational institutions in the country may impact the students’ freedom of speech and may induce fear among schools.

Tan said, however, that the military and police may still decide to do some lecturing or organize fora inside campuses even in UP.

“Hahanap lang sila ng co-sponsor sa isang organisasyon ng UP, (They just need a co-sponsor from UP organizations),” Tan said.

Still, this cannot be used as avenue for government troops and police to remain inside school premises, he said.

This may lead to abuse, according to Tan, not only against students but against teachers and professors.

He cited the case of Leonardo Co, a University of the Philippines botanist who was killed in a crossfire between government troops and communist rebels in 2010.

“Medyo nakaka-disturb na bakit laging kung may UP students sa labas, ilang accounts na ang nabanggit kanina. Si Leonard Co na pinatay nga na siya ay isang professor namin. Sa Palanan[town], mga botanists na nagreresearch, mga math professors na nasa math na tutulungan ang mga teachers, hinarass din sila,” Tan argued.

(It’s quite disturbing why UP students are usually being involved. There had been several accounts cited. One of our professors here, Leonard Co, was killed. Botanists in Palanan who were doing research, math professors who were assisting the teachers, were harassed.)

“Kung kaya nilang gawin ito what more kung nakapasok sila sa campuses namin. That is our fear. Yan ang tinatawag naming militarization, (If they can do this, what more if they enter our campuses. That is our fear. That’s militarization,)” he added.

Dr. Danilo Arao, meanwhile, argued that students become activists because of their critical thinking, awareness of the issues and because they want to exercise their freedom of speech.

 “They are just using the label of communism as a convenient excuse to quell whatever critical thinking people may have here in this university as well as in other universities,” the professor said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), for its part, said they are not against student activism.

DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya argued that the government is just being serious in curbing the recruitment of students or minors to join the communist CPP-NPA-NDF’s armed wing.

Nevertheless, the UP Chancellor assured that they are monitoring movements and activities of school organizations in their respective universities and they are willing to cooperate with authorities whenever necessary. – MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Leptospirosis case now over 900; NKTI gym, converted into leptos ward

Maris Federez   •   August 20, 2019

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) has turned its gymnasium into an alternative ward for leptospirosis patients.

This is to accommodate patients with leptospirosis and be provided with immediate treatment for the deadly disease.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the recent rains that caused flooding had contributed to the increase in the number of leptospirosis patients in Metro Manila alone.

To date, the DOH has recorded 106 fatalities and more than 900 cases of leptospirosis. 300 of which are from the NCR.

“It’s really a problem because you know the environmental, sanitation and hygiene do affect the health of our people because the local government, for example, do not do their efficient garbage collection, so certainly it raises the risk of the populace,” DOH Sec. Francisco Duque added.

This, however, is still low compared to what was recorded last year in the last 2 years.

The DOH then urged the public to maintain cleanliness in their respective surroundings to prevent leptospirosis. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

No water in parts of Metro Manila on August 20-21 – Maynilad

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Maynilad Water Services has announced a schedule of temporary water service interruptions in parts of Metro Manila from August 20 (Tuesday) to August 21 (Wednesday).

In an advisory, Maynilad said the water service disruption slated from August 20 at 6 p.m. to August 21 at 6 a.m. will affect several areas of Manila, Caloocan, Malabon, and Navotas.

The west zone water concessionaire said the service interruption is due to maintenance activities aimed at improving water services.

Below is the list of affected barangays and their corresponding supply interruption schedules:

MANILA

  • Barangay 124 to 127
  • Barangay 129 to 146
  • Barangay 177

CALOOCAN

  • Barangay 12
  • Barangay 14
  • Barangay 20
  • Barangay 28
  • Barangay 31
  • Barangay 35

MALABON

  • Barangay Longos
  • Tuna
  • Torcillo
  • Dagat-Dagatan Ext.
  • Dalagang Bukid East/C3
  • Lapu-Lapu West
  • Dagat-Dagatan

NAVOTAS

  • Barangay Bangculasi
  • Barangay North Bay Blvd.
  • San Rafael Village

Maynilad urged its customers to store water at least three days before the scheduled interruption to prevent simultaneous heavy withdrawals of water from its pipelines, which can reduce water pressure and cause some customers to have no water earlier than scheduled.

The water concessionaire assured water tankers will be on standby to deliver water to affected areas as needed.

Upon resumption of water service, customers are also advised to let the water flow out for a few seconds until the water clears.

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