By Maecy Alviar
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines
The Philippine Health Department on Thursday declared a leptospirosis outbreak in 18 villages in seven cities in the capital Manila.
In a televised interview, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the number of cases has already “crossed the epidemic threshold” and is now higher than the average number of cases for the last five years.
He said the cities affected by the outbreak are Metro Manila’s Quezon City, Taguig, Pasig, Parañaque, Navotas, Mandaluyong, and Malabon.
Duque earlier this week said his department has seen a 60 percent spike in leptospirosis cases or a total of 1,040 victims nationwide this January to June, including 38 deaths.
Of the total cases, more than 200 are from Manila.
Dr. Luis Limchiu, chairman of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, last week said though they anticipated the rise in leptospirosis cases, admissions at the state kidney hospital this year have already topped the total number of patients for 2017.
Health experts said the virus, which is contacted from the urine of infected animals, has been rampant due to frequent flooding in the capital since the rainy season started in June.