Six dead in Philippine epidemic caused by rat urine


MANILA: A bacterial epidemic caused by water contaminated with rat urine has hit a flood-ravaged region in the northern Philippines, killing six people and overwhelming local hospitals, a health official said Wednesday.

At least 132 people were infected with leptospirosis in and around the northern city of Olongapo, following deadly flash floods in the area last month, health department epidemiologist for the area Jessie Fantone told AFP.

“This is a bacterial infection caused by exposure to rat urine in flooded urban areas,” Fantone told AFP in a telephone interview.

“The hospitals in the area have been overwhelmed. We have dispatched more personnel, hospital beds and medicine.”

While the floods that struck the area late last month have subsided, the disease can incubate in the human body for up to 30 days before flu-like symptoms appear, Fantone said.

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