Rats In The Philippines

RatSomething I notice most people seem to overlook in the Philippines is the rat problem. Not sure if its a case of there are so many rats people have given up trying to kill them or simply people are so used to them being around they ignore them. But recently I notice a trend of some people getting sick especially children but although I am not a doctor the symptoms I believe are often misdiagnosed as cases of Leptospirosis are difficult to assess if you don’t carry out some extra tests.

Symptoms can take 2 – 26 days (average 10 days) to develop, and may include:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Shaking chills

Less common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal lung sounds
  • Bone pain
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Enlarged lymph glands
  • Enlarged spleen or liver
  • Joint aches
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Skin rash
  • Sore throat

As you can see from the list you could easily give the wrong diagnosis as the symptoms are relevant to many other infections especially here in the Philippines. A simple blood test for antibodies to the bacteria can rule it out or be a quick diagnosis for the problem.

Treatment can be done by one of these simple medications :-

  • Ampicillin
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Doxycycline
  • Penicillin

But if left untreated the disease can be fatal, if you look through statistics of deaths and illnesses during flooding in the Philippines you will find literally thousands of cases of illness and at least 10 – 20 deaths caused by Leptospirosis. I am not generally one to trust a doctors opinion which is why its always worth double checking this kind of thing yourself. The disease comes from urine and often from things like rainwater catchments or freshwater. It’s not something transmitted from person to person except in the rare cases of breastfeeding.