As the torrential rain caused by the low-pressure area (LPA) and northeast monsoon is expected to persist and continue to cause flooding in multiple areas across the region, the Department of Health Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-EVCHD) is warning the public against the increased health risks that arise during this season.

Among the health risks anticipated is an increase in the transmission of W.I.L.D. diseases (Water-borne diseases, Influenza, Leptospirosis, and Dengue) caused by a variety of bacterial, viral, and parasitic organisms. Chief among these is leptospirosis, commonly contracted by wading in flood-water contaminated with animal urine—particularly from rats. The rainy season also poses an increased risk in the transmission of vector-based diseases such as dengue and malaria. The influenza or the common flu, albeit a year-round disease, is also anticipated to peak during this period.

To mitigate the increasing number of cases of W.I.L.D. diseases in the region (based on the 2022 epidemiology & surveillance reports), preventive measures are a priority appeal of the Department of Health to ensure the health and safety of the most vulnerable population—pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems—who are more likely to develop complications if infected.

For that matter, the DOH EVCHD is advising the public to be more stringent in observing the following preventive measures within their premises during these times:

Make sure drinking water is from a safe source. When in doubt, boil water for 2 minutes or longer, or chlorinate drinking water to make it safe; food should be well-cooked. Leftovers should be covered and kept away from household pests; always wash your hands before and after eating, and after using the toilet. Keep yourself dry and warm, and maintain personal hygiene; ensure proper waste disposal. Keep the premises clean and clear out areas that can be inhabited by rats/pests. Make use of rat traps and rodenticides; avoid contact with or playing in flood-water, especially if wounded. If contact with flood-water is unavoidable, make use of rain boots. Wash feet immediately with clean water and soap after contact with flood-water; consult a doctor at once if you, or any household member, have any sign or symptom of infection to prevent the spread of infection in the evacuation area.

Likewise, the Local Government Units (LGUs) are advised to utilize anti-W.I.L.D. diseases equipment and other medical supplies (including insecticides, larvicides, insecticide-treated screens, dengue NSI rapid diagnostic tests, antigen and antibody tests, oral rehydration salt, paracetamol, and prophylactic antibiotics) and to continue to closely coordinate with the Department of Health Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development for assistance and guidance in their health emergency response activities. (PR)