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Flood and leptos

Ian Alfredo Magno .

HERE comes the rain again.

Noticeably, downpour nowadays dispense more heavily voluminous amount of precipitation as opposed to rainfalls in the days of old.  It felt rather common, than alarming, while seeing a crowd of commuters stranded at the roadsides after flood waters took over and converged at the middle of Claro M. Recto Ave., a major highway in Cagayan de Oro City.

From where I was at that instant, the vantage point provided quite an unholy spectacle that both caused and worsened the urban flood that was going on and its foreseeable ill effects.  The view on the other side of the flooded highway was an inundated creek pulsating with debris, a variety of garbage and species of trash.

Among the infamous nuisances brought about by constant flooding is leptospirosis contamination.  The public very well knew that an exposed wound in the foot or leg, when soaked in flood water, is enough to acquire the infection.  However, according to the Department of Health, through Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, even a splash of contaminated flood water in the eye, would cause one to contract the disease.  But if one grasps how practically filthy stagnated marine waste in urban drainages and creeks are, one would understand its potency to carry sorts of diseases among which, in fact, is leptospirosis.

According to experts, anybody who has been exposed to leptospirosis, needs to see a doctor within 24 hours to get tested and start antibiotic treatment. It is important to apprise the physician that that leptospirosis may be the cause of the illness, since some doctors may not be familiar with the symptoms, particularly those in cities.  It is possible to have been exposed to infection without feeling any symptoms at all.  A mild form of the disease often causes only minor flu-like symptoms.  A severe form of the disease can come on rapidly, and result in severe illness.  Certain patients have been reported collapsing, being unable to see or move, or remember anything before waking up in hospital.

Although death from leptospirosis is rare, it is nonetheless important to know certain basic first aid remedies to prevent its proliferation.

Treatment for leptospirosis has the most chance of success if it begins as soon as exposure to infection is known or suspected.  A readily available supply of clean water is important when exposure is known or suspected.  As soon as there is exposure to urine or infection is suspected: dry off the area soaked with contaminated liquid waste straight away (leptospires tend to dry out easily), then wash the area; wash out fresh or old cuts and grazes with water and disinfectant, and dry well; flush out your mouth and eyes, and any exposed skin, with lots of running water; wash your hands and face well. (source Brett-Major D.M., Coldren R. cited in Leptospirosis in New Zealand: an overview of clinical best practice)

Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition said, “Poor waste management attracts rodent infestation and increases the risk of human exposure to the leptospirosis-causing bacteria transmitted through rat urine.”

In line with this, it is therefore imperative that local chief executives should nowa take serious note of the mandate of RA 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.  Under this law, all barangays in the country are required to develop an ecological solid waste management program, promote waste segregation, implement a segregated collection for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards.

 

(Lawyer Ian Alfredo T. Magno is a marketing head at Philhealth. E-mail: ianalfredom@gmail.com)

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