MANILA, July 7 (Xinhua) -- More than 1,000 Filipinos have been infected with the deadly leptospirosis, an animal-borne bacterial disease that is more common in the tropics like the Philippines, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a local radio interview on Saturday.
The Philippine capital has experienced severe raining especially since the onset of the wet season in June, which inundated many of Manila's garbage-clogged streets.
Twenty-two villages in Metro Manila has been declared under leptospirosis outbreak.
The outbreak has also been declared in Caloocan City, Quezon City, Taguig, Pasig, Paranaque, Navotas, Mandaluyong, and Malabon, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
Duque said these areas are considered outbreaks because they have already breached the epidemic threshold, meaning that cases reported in these cities and villages have already gone past the number or the average number for the last five years.
At least 234 leptospirosis cases have been reported in Metro Manila since January this year, higher than 146 cases recorded in the same period last year, DOH data showed.
The same data showed that as of June 16, a total of 1,040 cases have been recorded nationwide, and 99 have reportedly died from the disease. Of the reported number of deaths, the DOH said 38 were from Metro Manila.
Duque said the DOH is closely monitoring the leptospirosis cases in the country and that the government is prepared to deal with the increasing cases in the country.
"Our hospitals are equipped to handle the cases of leptospirosis, and there are enough tools and medicines," Duque said.
Already, the DOH has launched an information campaign to educate Filipinos on leptospirosis and other water-borne infectious illnesses like flu and dengue.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the bacterial zoonotic disease had varied manifestations.
"The early stages of the disease may include high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness in the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, hemorrhages in skin and mucous membranes including pulmonary bleeding, vomiting, diarrhea and a rash," the WHO said.
Risk of infection is minimized by avoiding contact with animal urine, infected animals or a contaminated environment.