Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bacterial disease outbreak in Philippines flooded waters

Three weeks after it's most recent typhoon, there are still many flooded areas in the Philippines. The flooding has helped to spread a bacterial disease that has killed more than 130 people. The Philippines are asking for additional aid to help fight the outbreak.

From Reuters Alert Net, reporter Manny Mogato tells us more about the outbreak.

More than 130 people had died and nearly 2,000 remained in government hospitals due to leptospirosis, a bacterial infection caused by exposure to animal urine. The bacteria are common in tropical countries with heavy rainfall and frequent flooding.

"We have already sent an SOS to the international community because this is one of the biggest outbreak of leptospirosis not just in the Philippines, but in the world," Tayag told lawmakers at a public hearing in Manila.

He said about 680 cases of leptospirosis were reported every year. From Oct. 1-15, a total of 1,887 cases have been reported in 15 hospitals in Manila region, Tayag said, adding the health department needed about $1 million worth of medicines to contain the disease.

Health authorities said 1.7 million people in Manila and two nearby provinces are at risk because flood waters in these areas are expected to remain until December 2009. The Philippines is bracing for another powerful typhoon in the northern regions on the main island of Luzon, evacuating thousands to avoid death and destruction.

Typhoon Lupit, which means "fierce" in Filipino, was expected to make landfall around the far northern tip of the Luzon region by Thursday and dump more rain on typhoon-weary provinces, said the weather bureau.

Ketsana and Parma damaged or destroyed more than 27 billion pesos ($580 million) in crops and infrastructure.

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