Rabies vaccine in short supply—DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 7, 2019   •   2107

Kinuskos ko ng bawang [ang sugat] (I just rubbed garlic on her wound),” Rose Ann Condeno said while cradling her daughter in her arms.

Her daughter was recently clawed by a stray cat while playing outside—she has not been vaccinated with anti-rabies.

According to the Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Eric Domingo, victims of rabies rarely survive and almost 100 percent of them die without receiving anti-rabies vaccine.

Rabies is a viral disease that can be passed from an animal to a human through biting or clawing. Rabies cases in the country often spike during vacation when children spend more time outside.

Victims of rabies usually get infected following a bite or a scratch from a rabid stray dog or cat on the street.

“Siyempre kapag bakasyon iyong mga bata, wala na sa eskwela, naglalaro maghapon, naglalaro sa kalye and then dito talaga tayo nagkakroon na dumadami ang cases ng nakakagat ng aso (Of course, during vacation, they are no longer in school. They will mostly play all afternoon. This is when cases of animal bite rise),” Domingo said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 40 percent of people bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age.

Condeno’s daughter, who is only 11 months old, did not experience any fever and appears to be in stable condition.

“May nagsabi nga sa akin na pa-injectionan siya, pero tinignan ko naman medyo mababaw, kaya naman na hindi siya nilagnat (Someone told me to get her vaccinated but I checked and the wound is not that deep. She did not experience any fever),” she adds.

The DOH said vaccination is a must because cleaning or using alternative medicines will not be enough to prevent the virus.

“Hindi pa rin tayo nakakasigurado siyempre, kailangan pa rin natin iyong anti-bodies na lalaban sa rabies (We cannot be sure, we still need the anti-bodies to fight rabies),” Domingo said.

However, the Health department laments the lack of supply of anti-rabies vaccine in the country.

In April last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that supplies of human anti-rabies vaccines across the globe are contaminated.

With this, Domingo urges everyone to be more careful especially with children who has an open wound.

They can also suffer from rabies if they were licked by an animal without anti-rabies vaccine.

“We are asking everybody to be extra careful kasi talagang mayroon pa tayong shortage ng ating anti- rabies vaccines sa humans sa buong mundo (We are asking everybody to be extra careful because there is a global shortage of human anti-rabies vaccines),” he said. —Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

FDA orders DOH-controlled hospitals to report vape-related injuries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 11, 2019

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Department of Health (DOH)-controlled hospitals to report cases that are related to using vape.

This was after health officials in the United Stated confirmed on Tuesday (September 10) that a 50-year-old man died of lung disease linked to vape use.

According to Dr. Anton Javier, project manager of Product Research and Standards Development Division Center for Cosmetics in the FDA, they might not monitor any illnesses related to using vape just yet because of the latency period.

“Because of the latency period nga po baka po wala pa tayo makita just yet. Pwede po kasing nagve-vape ka ngayon pero iyong mga magiging sakit niyo down the line pa, (Because of the latency period, we might not see [incidence] just yet. You can actually use vape now but your illness might appear down the line)” he said.

However, an expert said the confirmed case in the United States should not be a cause of alarm.

“It’s been well proven by laboratories in the US that deaths in Kansas whatever it is, has got nothing to do with e-cigarettes its what these people has put in e cigarettes that contains adulterated contaminants of cannabis,” according to Harm Reduction Expert Dr. Tikki Pang.

The FDA had previously released a regulation on using vape or e-cigarettes. Manufacturers or retailers were given until October 25 to register their products to the FDA.

The FDA has also warned against the dangers of the chemicals found in vape products. This include cynemaldehide which causes blockage in the lungs which can lead to difficulty in breathing.

Another dangerous chemical, according to the FDA, is diacetyl which causes bronchylitis or inflammation of the lungs.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

What is Leptospirosis and how can you avoid it?

Robie de Guzman   •   August 30, 2019

The risk of getting water-borne illnesses, like leptospirosis, is often much greater during the rainy season.

Health experts said this is because floodwaters and other extreme weather-related events cause rodents and other wild and domesticated species to move into the city.

In the Philippines, cases of leptospirosis have been spiking in the recent weeks due to rains and heavy flooding.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that from January 1 to August 3 this year, more than 900 cases of leptospirosis were recorded, 300 of which are from Metro Manila. Out of these cases, 106 fatalities were reported.

READ: Leptospirosis cases now over 900

According to the World Health Organization, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. It is an infection in both wild and domesticated animals but rodents are implicated most often in human cases.

Human infection can occur through “direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment such as surface water, soil and plants.”

The most common route of infection is exposure to water contaminated by urine, such as floodwaters, and through skin abrasions and the mucus of the nose, mouth and eyes.

How leptospirosis affects your body?

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Cybele Abad, in an interview with UNTV Digital program Lifesaver, said that when leptospirosis bacteria enter the body, it spreads through blood and infects the cells.

“Kapag halimbawa after ng isang bagyo tapos lumusong sa baha tapos may bukas na sugat sa paa, usually pwedeng makapasok yung Leptospirosis (bacteria) sa open wound sa paa… Tapos dala ng dugo, iikot sa buong katawan yung leptospiros at magkakaroon ng mga sintomas ng leptospirosis,” Abad said.

Watch this online episode of Lifesaver for more information on how leptospirosis affects your body.

Signs and Symptoms

The time between a person’s exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is two to four days.

In the early stages of the disease, symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness of the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, haemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash.

But according to Abad, many of leptospirosis’ symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases, so it is important for a person suspected with this infection to seek immediate medical consultation and tests.

“Kapag (tingin) po na may posibilidad na leptospirosis, kailangan dalhin sa ospital para mabantayan yung mga sintomas. Kailangan din pong ma-diagnose ito, usually through some blood test, puwedeng blood culture o kaya may diagnostic test para malaman kung leptospirosis or hindi,” she said.

What to do to prevent infection?

To avoid leptospirosis, health experts advise the public to take up measures, which include:

  • Avoiding swimming or wading in potentially contaminated water or flood water.
  • Use of proper protection like boots and gloves when work requires exposure to contaminated water.
  • Draining of potentially contaminated water when possible.
  • Control rats in the household by using rat traps or rat poison, maintaining cleanliness in the house.

The illness usually lasts for a few days to three weeks or longer and can be treated with antibiotics. But without treatment, recovery may take several months.

The more severe phase of the disease may lead a person to have kidney or liver failure or meningitis.

Lifesaver is a UNTV Digital program that offers basic first aid training essential to anyone who happens to be a bystander to an accident or emergency. It also educates viewers of imperative emergency response lessons and indispensable disaster preparedness tools to be able to save lives in times of calamities.

For more information on dengue, other basic first aid and emergency response tips, visit Lifesaver’s Youtube and Facebook accounts.

PHL records over 208k dengue cases from January to August 2019 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   August 27, 2019

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III visits dengue patients at the Quezon Medical Center in Lucena, Quezon. The photo was released on August 8, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – Dengue cases reported in the Philippines have reached more than 208,000 from January 1 to August 10 this year, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday.

The DOH said this figure is higher than the 102, 298 cases recorded in the same period last year.

Of this number, 900 deaths were reported.

Data from the DOH revealed that ten regions including the National Capital Region (NCR) have exceeded the Dengue Epidemic Threshold for the said period.

DOH Dengue Surveillance Report also showed that Region 6 (Western Visayas) had the most number of cases at 23,330 followed by Region 4-A (Calabarzon) with 16,515, Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) with 12,317, Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) with 11,455 and Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) with 11,083 cases.  

In San Lazaro Hospital in Manila alone, at least 100 patients infected with dengue are being monitored daily since July.

According to San Lazaro Hospital Spokesperson Ferdinand de Guzman, the number of dengue cases is seen to rise in the coming months.

“We’re only in August, just August, so we still have months to come with rains. So, in fact, we feel the dengue season started late this year, although in the provinces there are already cases and the Department of Health’s predictions have been right, we might see so many cases of dengue,” he said.

“We still expect to see cases of dengue until the end of the year, so until the rains are here, there will still be dengue cases, so we have to be careful,” he added.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection contracted through a bite of dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These mosquitoes can lay eggs in containers or spaces that can hold water, even plant pots with stagnant water.

READ: Dengue on the rise: How to protect your family against dengue virus

Symptoms of the dengue fever include sudden onset of fever for two to seven days along with headache, rashes, fatigue, joint and muscle pains, pain behind the eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.

The DOH has been calling on the public to help prevent and control the spread of dengue by maintaining cleanliness and searching and destroying mosquito breeding sites. (RRD with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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