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DOH: No flesh-eating skin disease in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines  -Don't panic, folks. There is no truth to reports that a "mysterious flesh-eating illness" is now spreading in Pangasinan or in any part of the country, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

"There is no reported case of 'flesh-eating' skin disease in the country yet. Absolutely no reason for the public to panic," DOH Sec. Enrique Ona said in a statement, allaying fears that may have been caused by previous reports.

Ona made the clarification after two people in Pangasinan who were supposedly afflicted with the "flesh-eating" illness were recently featured in a late-night television news program.

According to the DOH, the first patient, a 21-year-old woman from Sta. Barbara town, is actually on multi-drug therapy for leprosy at a regional health unit.

The second patient, meanwhile, is a resident of Villasis town who actually has a case of severe psoriasis, a chronic skin disease characterized by red patches covered with white scales.

But while dismissing the reports on the alleged mysterious disease, Ona also reminded the public to seek medical attention if suffering from skin illnesses.

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"There are a lot of diseases that may manifest through changes in the skin. It is good to consult our doctors or go to the nearest barangay health unit when we need medical advice and treatment. Let us avail of the free healthcare service in our health facilities," Ona said.

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