Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.

More nurses sought vs leptospirosis problem

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered the Department of Health to employ and deploy more nurses and health workers to help address the growing number of leptospirosis cases in cyclone-affected areas.



• a bacterial infection caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called leptospira
• occurs through direct contact with the urine of infected animals or by contact with a urine-contaminated environment such as surface water, floodwater, soil, and plants
• affects both humans and animals
• leptospira have been found in rats, insectivores, dogs, cats, cattle, pigs and horses
• bacteria enter through broken skins, through eyes, nose or mouth exposed to contaminated water although less frequently through animal bites, handling infected animal tissues or swallowing contaminated food or water
• an occupational hazard for people who work outdoors or with animals, such as rice and sugar-cane field workers, farmers, sewer workers, veterinarians, dairy workers and military personnel
• a recreational hazard to those who swim or wade in contaminated waters. In endemic areas the number of leptospirosis cases may peak during the rainy season and even may reach epidemic proportions in case of flooding.


Incubation period for the bacteria lasts 7 to 12 days. During this period, the following symptoms may be felt (although sometimes it can also be asymptomatic):

• high fever
• severe headache
• chills
• muscle pain
• vomiting
• jaundice
• redness in the eyes
• abdominal pain
• hemorrhages in skin and mucous membranes (including pulmonary bleeding)
• diarrhea
• rash

However, if these aren't treated, they may develop into kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, and respiratory distress.


• reduce the rat population with the destruction of their habitats -- maintain a clean home
• avoid immersion in natural waters such as rivers, lakes and canals
• avoid immersion in floods
• use protective footwear or clothing when immersion to natural waters or floods is inevitable
• provide clean drinking water

Source: GMA News Research, DO, WHO
“The Department of Health has been directed by the President to fill more health teams and even to employ additional nurses and health workers under the NARS program to address the problem," said Press Secretary Cerge Remonde on Thursday.

Project NARS (Nurses Assigned in Rural Schools) is a training-cum-employment program implemented by the DOH, Department of Education, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Professional Regulation Commission-Board of Nursing.

As of October 11, at least 28 people had died while more than 800 have contracted the flood-borne disease this year, mostly from areas badly affected by tropical storm “Ondoy" and typhoon "Pepeng."

In the National Capital Region, which was battered by Ondoy last Sept. 26, there are 429 suspected cases of leptospirosis admitted in 10 hospitals, according to a DOH official.

Dr. Irma Asuncion, officer-in-charge of the Center for Health Development–Metro Manila, said in an interview that from Sept. 1 to Oct. 13, 368 males and 61 females suspected of having leptospirosis were admitted in San Lazaro Hospital (187 cases), Quirino Memorial Medical Center (114), The Medical City (93), Rizal Medical Center (10), Chinese General Hospital (10), Ospital ng Makati (6), Ospital ng Maynila (4), Our Lady of Lourdes (3), Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center (1), Valenzuela General Hospital (1).

Marikina, the area hardest hit by Ondoy in the NCR, posted the highest number of suspected cases of leptospirosis with 138, followed by Pasig with 83, Quezon City with 44, Manila with 43, Paranaque with 23, Malabon with 17, Caloocan with 13, Valenzuela with 13, Pasay with 12, Taguig with 10, Makati with nine, Mandaluyong with seven, Navotas with five, Muntinlupa with four, Las Pinas with two, Pateros with one, and San Juan with one.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by exposure to the urine of infected animals, usually rats. Its symptoms include fever, muscle pains, redness of the eyes, vomiting, headache, jaundice and difficulty in urinating. Severe cases results in failures of the kidney, liver and brain that may lead to death.

“If you waded in the floods and after two days you experience fever, muscle pains in the thigh and the calf, and reddening of the eyes, please consult a doctor immediately," Asuncion told GMANews.TV on the sidelines of a meeting among senior DOH officials, including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the DOH's National Epidemiology Center.

Secretary to the Cabinet Silvestre Bello III said Duque was excused from the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) to meet with the heads of the local government units affected by leptospirosis.

Asuncion said the DOH is ready to provide local government units with doxycyline, a prophylactic drug against leptospirosis. However, she said the DOH is preparing the necessary measures for the proper distribution of the drugs.

Tayag warned the public not to self-medicate and instead consult a doctor if they suspect they have leptospirosis.

Tayag said outbreaks of leptospirosis have been observed in three Marikina barangays: Malanday with 35 cases, Concepcion with 19, and Tumana with 14 cases.

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus announced that some 5,000 new nurses would be deployed in rural public schools in the country before the end of October.

“These new nurses will surely bring us closer to our goal of providing our public schools access to basic health care," Lapus said.

He said the deployment of the new nurses would help improve the delivery of health and nutrition services in public schools, particularly in depressed areas of the country as well as help attain the department’s goal of making quality education accessible to all Filipinos as provided in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Read the original article here


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