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Philippines warns of dengue fever and other 'rainy season' diseases

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Health officials in the western Visayas province of Iloilo are warning the public of a variety of infectious diseases that come out of the "rainy season", which has now arrived on the archipelago.

Iloilo Provincial Health Office (IPHO), Dr. Grace Trabado warns of diseases like influenza, dengue fever and leptospirosis, according to a Philippines News Agency report Jun. 8.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.

Humans can become infected through contact with urine (or other body fluids, except saliva) from infected animals or, contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.

The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection.

Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of five (researchers recently identified a fifth dengue subtype, the first in 50 years) related dengue viruses. This disease used to be called “break-bone fever” because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking.

There are three types of dengue fever in order of less severe to most: the typical uncomplicated dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). There is not a vaccine for dengue fever. There is no treatment for dengue, just treat the symptoms.

The IPHO advises the public to clean their surroundings habitually, and anything that contains water should be upended; but if water is needed in the household, then cover the container at all times.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there may be 50–100 million dengue infectionsworldwide every year. However, new research from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust, using cartographic approaches, estimate there to be 390 million dengue infections per year worldwide.

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