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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Health News: DOH LEPTOSPIROSIS Alert

Amid heavy rain and floods in Metro Manila, the Department of Health-National Capital Region went on blue alert Tuesday ensure enough personnel to attend to medical cases in the National Capital Region. During a Code Blue alert, medical personnel will be on 24-hour duty, according to the Health Department's press release posted on the Official Gazette website. 

“Community health teams will be visiting LGUs to provide medical assistance to residents affected by flood. Leptospirosis prophylaxis will also be given to residents in evacuation centers to avert possible spread of leptospirosis in the area.” said DOH-NCR director Eduardo Janairo.

Accodring to the World Health Organization, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. "Humans become infected through direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment," it added.

WHAT IS LEPTOSPIROSIS? click here......





How is it prevented?

There are a number of ways to prevent leptospirosis.

For people who work with animals:

  • Cover cuts and abrasions with a waterproof dressing;
  • Wear protective clothing (for example, gloves, eye shields or goggles, aprons and boots) when working with animals that could be infected, especially if there is a chance of contact with urine;
  • Wear gloves when handling cattle placentas or stillborn or aborted calves or carcasses;
  • Shower after work and wash and dry hands after handling potentially infected material;
  • Do not eat or smoke while handling animals that may be infected. Wash and dry hands before smoking or eating;
  • Vaccinate livestock as recommended by your veterinarian.
For other people:

  • Avoid swimming in water where there is a possibility of contamination with animal urine.
  • Cover cuts and abrasions with waterproof dressings, especially before coming into contact with soil, mud or water that may be contaminated with animal urine.
  • Wear footwear outdoors, especially when walking in mud or moist soil.
  • Wear gloves when gardening.
  • Control rodents by cleaning up rubbish and removing food sources that are close to housing.
  • Do not feed raw offal to dogs.
  • Wash hands with soap, as Leptospira bacteria are quickly killed by soap, disinfectants, and drying.
For those in a flood-affected area, the following guidance is issued:
  • Anyone working in flood water should protect any broken skin with a waterproof dressing, and should ensure they do not allow water to enter their mouth (via the hands, or via food or clothing).
  • All food and drinking water should be protected against contamination. Fresh vegetables and fruit should be washed in CLEAN water and then cooked or peeled. The bacteria will only contaminate the outside of food items, and animals infected with the bacteria will be safe to eat if thoroughly cooked.
  • All drinking water should be boiled unless it is known to be absolutely safe. Physical filtration through ceramic or charcoal filters is not adequate for leptospirosis.
  • Food should be protected against rodent attack wherever possible
  • Everyone should be aware of any illness during and in the weeks following a flood, and seek medical attention for any fever matching the symptoms above.
  • Where medication is generally issued, stick to the doses and instructions given to you.
Issue of medication

General distribution of antibiotics to a population following natural disasters follows guidance issued by the World Health Organisation. Normal protocols state that identified cases of human infection must be confirmed, or a large number of cases suspected, before the general population is issued prophylactic medication. When this is decided upon, the normal program is a single 200mg oral dose of doxycycline for all adults over 12 years of age (excepting pregnant and breastfeeding mothers). In these excepted cases, medication is chosen on a case-by-case basis. Each 200mg dose provides benefit for up to 7 days, so the dose may be repeated if high-risk conditions persist longer than this.

Unless illness develops, it is not advised to increase the dose. Education and monitoring for the population is essential to ensure cases are detected as early as possible, for the benefit of both the patient and the remainder of the population.
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