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Philippines declares outbreak of deadly rat fever

Health authorities in the Philippines have declared an outbreak of a deadly rat fever in the flood-hit areas of the country's southern region.

At least five people have died and as many as 200 diagnosed in the southern city of Cagayan de Oro with leptospirosis, a fatal animal-borne disease that can result in high fever, internal bleeding and organ failure, Xinhua reported.

Tropical storm Washi brought massive rains, leading to flooding in many areas of the country's central and southern regions since Dec 16 in 2011. 

Jaime Bernadas, regional health minister, said the number of patients displaced by Washi could increase in the coming days.

Congressman Rufus Rodriguez has called on people affected by the floods that killed over 1,200 people to avail of the government's vaccination against the deadly disease. Presently, the toll caused by Washi stands at 1,258 people with many still believed to be missing.

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