Science and Environment

Racumin RatAttack goes to Marikina barangay with cases of leptospirosis


MANILA, Philippines - Leptospirosis, a potentially fatal infection spread by exposure to floodwaters, has already killed several residents of Balubad Settlement in Barangay Nangka, Marikina.

And so, amid a warning by Health Secretary Enrique Ona of a 73.2 percent rise in leptospirosis cases nationwide, Balubad residents are doing their part to protect their community against the disease.

According to the Department of Health, 613 leptospirosis cases, including 48 deaths, have been recorded in the past seven months. These figures are higher compared to only 354 cases with 20 deaths in 2010.

The DOH alert advises the public to avoid wading in floodwaters as much as possible and wear water-proof boots when wading in floods cannot be avoided.

Leptospirosis is a feared, deadly visitor in the Balubad community, which is beside the river and frequently gets flooded during the rainy season.

According to residents, the worst cases of leptospirosis infections and deaths occurred during typhoon “Ondoy,” when massive floods affected Metro Manila, especially areas in Marikina that are near the river.

“We are worried about leptospirosis cases in the community. It is really a danger. Several people here have become sick and even died because of it. This is why the Racumin campaign is very timely for us,” said barangay chairman Randy Leal.

In order to prevent more illness and death from leptospirosis, the Balubad Settlement recently partnered with the Racumin RatAttack team to rid their community of the disease by eliminating the root cause: infected rodents.

Racumin RatAttack is a community-based anti-rodent campaign organized in partnership with selected communities, through the local government.

The campaign includes a seminar teaching residents how to get rid of rats in their households, and a demonstration on the proper use of anti-rodent products using Racumin product samples.

Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria in rat urine. When rat urine mixes with floodwaters, the leptospirosis bacteria are able to infect people who wade in the flood. People infected with leptospirosis experience fever and intense headache. In severe cases, a patient may get meningitis, renal failure, and die from the illness.

Balubad Settlement physician Dr. Joselito Mariano knows first-hand the threat posed by leptospirosis infections to families in the community. Mariano helped coordinate Balubad’s anti-rodent and leptospirosis prevention effort in cooperation with the Marikina City Health Office, local officials from Barangay Nangka, and the Racumin RatAttack team.

Outsmarting rats

The best way to prevent leptospirosis is to get rid of the root cause: the rodents that spread the disease through their urine. Residents learned ways to get rid of rodents during a lecture at the Racumin RatAttack event.

The lecture was given by Bubbles Santos, operations manager of Neumann & Mueller Philippines Inc., exclusive marketer and distributor of Bayer Advanced Racumin in the Philippines.

Santos discussed the behavior of rodents and how to get rid of them. She taught participants about rodent’s sleeping and eating habits, including how destructive and smart they are.

Santos said, “Rodents can detect poison. They are able to avoid the food or bait when they observe that these cause the death of other rodents. They are intelligent creatures but with the proper knowledge and tools, we can outsmart them.”

She added that other anti-rodent baits use an instant-kill formula that looks impressive in the beginning. In the long-term, however, rodents will learn that these are poisonous and avoid eating them.

She then explained how to outwit rodents using Racumin’s three products: Racumin Tracking Powder, Ready-Made Bait, and Paste.

Racumin Tracking Powder works as a bait and detector of the dwellings of rodents. Racumin Ready-Made Bait is made from fragrant rice, which attracts rodents. Racumin Paste comes in easy-to-use sachets that can be conveniently placed in areas frequented by rodents.

Santos also reiterated the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of one’s house and community. “Keeping your household clean deprives rats of shelter and food. This greatly helps in reducing the rat population in your barangay,” she said.

Slow kill: More effective

According to Mari-Gail Lasam-Cruz, marketing manager of Neumann & Mueller, the “slow kill” action of Racumin products has more effective, more long-term results in eliminating rodents.

“Racumin products have a delayed killing action. It takes two days before rodents that ingested the product are killed. The poisoned rodents die away from the site where the Racumin products were placed.

“This way, the other rodents would not have an idea what killed the ones that were poisoned. So rodents will keep on eating Racumin products without sensing that these are poison. As a result, more rodents will be eliminated as time passes, ” said Cruz.

Leptospirosis: Early treatment is best

During the event, Marikina City health education and promotion officer Jolly Tud discussed with the participants the symptoms and the seriousness of a leptospirosis infection.

She said the symptoms of the disease include headaches, muscle aches, followed by chills and fever. Some patients also develop serious inflammation of the nerves in the eyes, brain, and spinal column (meningitis).

“Leptospirosis could be fatal if not treated early. But the most important thing that we can do is to get rid of rodents in our house and community to prevent the disease,” Tud said.

According to barangay captain Leal, the product samples handed out during the event are very important: they let residents immediately apply what they learned in the Racumin RatAttack seminar. 

“The product samples will jumpstart our efforts to eliminate rodents and prevent leptospirosis. We expect the number of leptospirosis cases in the community to drop once households use the Racumin products regularly,” he said.

The Racumin RatAttack campaign is organized by Bayer Environmental Science and Neumann & Mueller, in partnership with selected communities. Racumin products are available in supermarkets nationwide.










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