UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) – The Department of Health in the Philippines has formally declared an outbreak of Leptospirosis in Metro Manila.

According to news reports released on Thursday, July 5, 368 cases have been reported this year, with 52 deaths.

The DOH said the bacterial disease has spread to 18 barangays in seven cities within the National Capital Region.

The country’s health secretary said on Thursday, there has been a recent surge of patients admitted with symptoms of the disease, at various hospitals in the metro.

He suggested the increase of cases could be down to bad weather and poor hygiene and advised those with flu-like symptoms to seek “immediate medical treatment.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, untreated Leptospirosis can cause kidney failure, brain damage and massive internal bleeding.