The study entitled "Prevalence of Leptospira in Abattoir Workers, Slaughtered Animals and Abattoir Environment in Cavite, Philippines" by Dr. Norbel A. Tabo of the De La Salle University-Dasmarinas was awarded 1st place in the 11th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Oral Research Presentation, Professional Category. This was held on August 24-25, 2017 at the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City. This is the HRDCR IV-A's first 1st place at the PNHRS Oral Research Presentation.  Below is the abstract of the study.



Leptospirosis is known to be endemic in the Philippines with disease incidence that peaks during rainy season or after heavy rains in flood-prone areas. During summer, occupationally at-risk groups such as farmers, abattoir workers, and garbage collectors are affected. Strategies to prevent and control leptospirosis have been done for years yet the number of cases continues to be high. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of antibodies to Leptospira among abattoir workers and slaughtered animals, and Leptospira serovars in slaughtered animals and abattoir environment in Cavite, Philippines.Serum samples obtained from 46 abattoir workers and 69 slaughtered animals were subjected to microscopic agglutination test (MAT). The MAT-screening positive sera were further subjected to MAT quantitation with a cut-off titer of 400 in humans and 20 in animals. The urine of 69 slaughtered animals and 72 environmental samples were subjected to culture. Culture-positive samples were subjected to rrl-PCR, flaB-PCR and serotyping using monoclonal/polyclonal antibodies.

The results showed that 15.2% of abattoir workers in selected abattoirs of Cavite province were positive for Leptospira-agglutinating antibodies, that reacted with serovars Canicola, Hurtsbridge, Losbanos, Poi and Ratnapura. These workers were assigned in dehairing, abattoir cleaning and butchering of pigs, and gut removal, gut cleaning, hide removal, and butchering in cows. On the other hand, the overall Leptospira-seropositivity in slaughtered animals was 58.0%, 61.7% of which was in pigs and 33.3% in cows. The most frequently occurring serovar in pigs was Poi with 38.3%, followed by Icterohaemorrhagiae strain Ictero No. 1 (18.3%), Copenhageni (16.7%), Semaranga (10.0%) and Icterohaemorrhagiae strain RGA (8.3%). However, the most frequently occurring serovar in cows was Poi (22.2%).Twenty five percent (18/72) of the environmental samples were positive for Leptospira. Of these, 5 samples were positive for flaB-PCR. These samples were considered as pathogenic and were observed in Noveleta, Imus City and Bacoor City abattoir. Of the five pathogenic isolates, one isolate reacted with serogroup Grippotyphosa while the remaining four isolates did not react with any of the monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. On the other hand, none of the 69 urine samples were positive for culture.

The presence of common serovars at the interface of both abattoir workers-slaughtered animals, and slaughtered animals-abattoir environment could indicate continual source of leptospires and could pose problems on human health. These serovars could be potential candidates for the development of vaccines and diagnostic tests.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) in cooperation with the Health Research and Development Consortium Region IV-A (HRDCR IV-A) conducted a seminar-workshop entitled “Workshop on Framework for Disaster Research Phase I: Capacity Enhancement on Disaster Research in Health” last April 25-26, 2017 at the Acacia Hotel, Alabang. The activity aimed to develop the capacity to generate, translate, and utilize research findings for disaster risk reduction policies, programs and services using standard concepts, methods and frameworks. The two-day seminar-workshop featured talks on disaster risk-reduction, exercises, workshops and mentoring sessions, plenaries and presentations. This was conducted as a follow through action to the key messages from the disaster risk reduction (DRR) sessions at the 2015 Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health 2015. Dr. Ofelia Saniel, Dr. Jessie Manuta, Dr. Juan Pablo Nanagas and Dr Carlos Primero Gundran served as the resource persons. A total of 29 participants attended the said workshop and all left armed with enhanced capacity in doing disaster health related research. They were also able to write a research proposal for possible funding of PCHRD.


"Disaster is not forever… building back better"… some phrases to live by from Dr. Saniel and Dr. Manuta during the workshop.


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