Top 10 Most Contagious Diseases in the Philippines

Far more than any other man – be it on a rampage or in a fanatical group bent on delivering chaos – could ever do, the most dangerous killers known to man are those that escape his mortal eyes. Yes, it’s not the macro that presents the bulk of the causa mortis, it’s the micro: bacterias, viruses, germs and the like. Get the drift?

Especially so, in a Third World country like the Philippines. Where some people are living under bridges for lack of an option. And countless children not even in their teens catch the front pages of major dailies for being prostituted on cam by their very own blood parents. Dire straits has definitely acquired a new meaning in this internet age. Yet, all these filth and poverty has only served as a launching pad for infectious diseases to flourish. Right in our very backyards. And though on one hand Philippine society is hurtling itself towards modernization in the 21st century, its hands are far from clean, people are still dying from diseases known centuries ago.
Contagious Diseases in the Philippines
Ladies and gentlemen of the hour, the Top 10 most dreaded infectious diseases in the country today.

#10. Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A
Be careful when eating just about anywhere. Food that you are taking could be contaminated with fecal matter especially if you are in an area where sanitation is low. Cases of outbreaks have been reported due to eating in carenderias. As this attacks the liver (i.e., hepar = Greek for liver), victims will exhibit fever, jaundice and diarrhea. A fraction of these victims, 15% to be exact, could suffer for 6-9 months.

Although the disease is curable and a vaccine is available, this form of Hepatitis is most common. Since the virus dies in high temperature, eating raw food (e.g., shellfish) can introduce you to the disease. Good thing is once you’re stricken, you become immune.

Hepa A morbidity is at a low at 0.3 to 1.8 percent

source: contaminated food or water
nature: viral

#9. Hepatitis E
Hepatitis E
Just like Hepa A, this one is fecal-oral, meaning you get via eating or drinking contaminated sources. This is the more dangerous kind with more reported deaths than its distant cousin. Hepa E is a leading cause of infant deaths with 20% of infants from expecting mothers stricken with the disease to experience fatal complications.

Over-all, the hepatitis group of diseases, which constitutes Hepa A, B, C, D and E, is a global problem bigger than HIV/AIDs with over a million dying from the disease every year in the Asia Pacific region. In the Philippines, it is estimated one of every 6 could be infected with the deadly virus or a whopping 16.7 percent.

source: contaminated food or water, semen
nature: viral

#8. Typhoid
This bacterial disease is spread through contact with water or food contaminated with sewage or fecal matter. Again, poor sanitation is a leading cause of the disease. Typhoid is deadly especially for children with mortality rates reaching as high as 20% and cases of deaths have been reported nationwide. Symptoms include sustained high fever.

source: contaminated food or water
nature: bacterial

#7. Japanese Encephalitis

Mosquito-borne (Culex tritaeniorhynchus), this viral disease is a menace in the rural areas. The sad part is the mortality rate is high, up to 30%, with infected people experiencing acute encephalitis which can progress to coma and eventual death.

source: Mosquito-borne
nature: viral

#6. Leptospirosis
Another disease that is aggravated by dirty living conditions.The disease is bacterial but can easily be spread as it can be spread with infected animal urine (e.g., rats, dogs, cats) coming in contact with breaks in the skin, mouth, nose or even the vagina. It is no coincidence that the disease has been reported in areas of the Philippines experiencing massive flooding. Sadly, the disease has claimed dozens of lives. A classic example is the 2013 outbreak in Olongapo City which affected over 600 people.

source: water-borne
nature: bacterial

#5. Rabies
The disease identified mainly through dog bites has been dubbed a public menace in the Philippines and government has been actively pursuing deterrence of the spread of the virus. In advanced stages, infected persons will start to exhibit strange behaviors almost dog-like (e.g., biting, lunging at anyone, fear of water). If untreated, rabies can cause cardio-respiratory arrest and eventual death in 3-5 days.

Good thing is it’s 100 percent preventable and a vaccine is available. However, rabies still claims 200-300 lives annually.

source: dog bites
nature: viral

#4. Dengue

Dengue is another major menace in the Philippines with the government actively pursuing its eradication. Mosquito-borne (Aedes aegypti) the disease has struck in the heart of major cities.

In early 2013 alone, almost 200 Filipinos died of the disease with urban centers affected the most.

source: mosquito-borne (Aedes aegypti)
nature: viral

#3. TB
This bacterial disease that attacks the lungs, tuberculosis claims the lives of 2 million people worldwide per year. In South-East Asia which includes the Philippines, there are around 3 million cases of TB occurrence per year in a data provided by WHO (World Health Organization).

One of the top 3 in the DOH list, Philippines has one of the highest incidence of TB and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the country. Since the disease is air-borne and can be spread via a sneeze or cough, the disease can spread fast. From 2003 to 2011 alone over 4.6 million TB cases were reported in the archipelago. The good news is these numbers are slowly going down.

source: air-borne (Aedes aegypti)
nature: bacterial

#2. Malaria
Part of the top 3 priority infectious disease, the disease can be transmitted via the bite of the Anopheles female mosquito. Also it can infect an individual via syringe or blood transfusion, or transplacenta (mother to child) and has claimed thousands of lives.

Though DOH has declared war on malaria and is posting a target of having a Malaria-free Philippines by 2020, there were about 10,000 cases reported in 2011, a drop from roughly 20,000 cases in 2003.

source: mosquito-borne (Aedes aegypti)
nature: viral

#1. HIV/AIDs
HIV and AIDs
The disease may not have claimed as many lives as those in this A-lister but its nature is of the deadliest kind. Since the disease can be spread via blood transfusion (i.e., needle) and coitus (sexual act), its rise has been imminent especially in highly-urban areas (Manila, Cebu). Many of the active carriers of the disease have led promiscuous lifestyles. The abomination has also been linked to availability of global work, the gay rights movement and the growth of the call center industry.

In 2013, DOH listed a total of roughly 10,000 active carriers of the disease nationwide with 92% infected via sexual contact with over 80% affected engaging in male-to-male (MSM) sexual activity. Of the total carriers, 20% are OFW’s.

source: needle, sexual contact
nature: viral

For more of the details, please dive here.

Do give us your comments below, should there be anything that you feel I may have left out. Or if, by any chance, you want to posit any reaction, violent and otherwise.

Also, please join us in spreading the good word and sharing this little bit of info-tainment. Disease is a sad place to be but nothing puts the human spirit to ice faster than apathy. Sounds like a recent familiar cartoon flick from house of Disney: Frozen.

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14 Responses

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  1. kit tolentino says:

    Is dengue contagious?

  2. PPCINC says:

    No dengue isn’t contagious at all and this post have been corrected to specify that.

    The reason it’s here though is the fact that it’s one of the most dangerous illnesses we can get in the Philippines and the more people get it, the higher the chance that others will get it too since a human carrier of the disease once bitten by a non-carrier mosquito turns that non-carrier mosquito into a carrier leading to outbreaks.

  3. We are in Chicago. Let us know if we can help you in the Philippines.
    If you can specify the medicine you need, we will see what we can do.
    We love the Philippines.

  4. enrico says:

    sources? saan galing mga data?

    • says:

      Hi Enrico! I can’t be sure anymore since our researcher/writer who did this is not connected with us anymore but if memory serves me right, this is based on DOH data.

  5. says:

    Hi Hawkinsons! Thanks for your concern and love for the Philippines. If you are interested in helping those who are in need among us, I believe your best bet is to get in touch with a non-profit organization like Rise Above or the Philippine Red Cross.

    Let me also add that for the best memory, best you experience and join in helping out as well when you get the chance as I’m sure you’ll hearts will melt from the experience.

  6. sean says:

    with all this information about diseases , this would make a person kinda nervous about going there to visit ……have things gotten any better there..can someone let me knlw.. thanks..

    • says:

      Hi Sean. Sorry for somewhat scaring you, this wasn’t our intention no doubt.

      If you check on these diseases, these are actually the same issue with any other tropical areas especially when you talk about mosquito born diseases like dengue. This is probably what you should be wary of the most when you visit the Philippines or any other tropical destination. Simple steps like putting on anti-bug lotion and pick the places you spend the night.

      Apart from that, you also need to be careful where you eat as contagious diseases can also be had from the not so clean to the outright dirty food stalls that abound here.

      And as always when travelling abroad, get travel insurance for peace of mind.

  7. Miko says:

    hi! Sources ng data natin? Can we have a proper citation for this? For thesis purposes lang po. Thanks and God bless.

    • says:

      Sorry Miko this has been written using the writer’s own research based mostly on the DOH record if I’m not mistaken.

  8. Yoongi says:

    Just to ask, are these all valid? I am right now making a poster about communicable diseases and I am somewhat having this feeling that Rabies and Leptospirosis are not really contagious. Lots of love from South Korea! 🙂

    • says:

      Anyung Yoongi! Actually both rabies and Leptospirosis are contagious so you can definitely add them on your poster. Best also do some double checking as well just to make sure.

  9. Chawlhie says:

    kailan po to na post or na update?? kailangan lang po sa report … Thank you for the information and the answer 😀

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