Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beware of "WILD" diseases

I know. When one hears of something wild, people tend to flock together and see what that "wild" thing is. In this case, you wouldn't want to mess with this type of "wild".

With the onset of the rainy season officially confirmed by the national weather bureau, the Health department has cautioned the public to beware of the WILD...the WILD diseases.

WILD stands for water-borne diseases, influenza (interesting pronounced as influentia by one TV reporter), leptospirosis and dengue.

Pipe leaks may facilitate the entry of waterborne pathogens in the drinking water causing diarrhea. When water is thought to be unsafe, it is not enough to simply heat the water. Boiling is preferred. Fluid and electrolyte replacement is key to managing diarrhea, not the usual antidiarrheals.

Meanwhile influenza vaccines are now available some offering protection against H1N1 but many are still afraid (including some healthcare workers) to have themselves immunized for fear of side effects. Influenza vaccines are still one of the safest vaccines around.

Leptospirosis on the other hand is acquired especially when one wades in flood waters. In last year's typhoons especially Ondoy, the floods resulted to an outbreak of Leptospirosis which killed many. I could just imagine the risk taken by pedicab drivers plying the streets of Manila braving the floods when heavy rains pour. They too are at high risk for Leptospirosis. Even without a skin break, these leptospires may possibly enter through the skin pores.

Dengue is particularly high in Cebu despite the recent hot weather. From January 2010 to May 15 of this year, 532 cases with 6 deaths were reported. In the same period last year, there were around 300 cases but with 10 deaths.

Dengue prevention entails covering water containers which may become possible breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying dengue virus and providing personal protection through mosquito repellents among other things. Fever especially in children should not be taken lightly and dengue should not be immediately ruled out.