Rat fever alert in Kerala : 10 more die, 719 cases of bacterial disease

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 3 :Ten more persons succumbed to leptospirosis between August 1 and September 2 in Kerala after the floodwaters receded from the affected areas across the state.As many as 302 confirmed and 719 suspected cases of the bacterial disease have also been reported in the state since August 1, most of them in Kozhikode district.

Leptospirosis, popularly known as rat fever is a communicable disease which is caused by direct contact with body fluids (usually urine) of an infected animal, usually rats.High alert for the rat fever was sounded in various districts of flood-battered Kerala  as seven  are confirmed cases of leptospirosis, 34 are suspected leptospirosis deaths, nine died of fever and one of dengue.

Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said that there was no need to panic  as in the past two days, several people have died due to the disease that transmits from animals to humans. The risk of contaminating the disease is high during flooding.

Shailaja said people who had come in contact with flood water, should maintain extra vigil.

Those engaged in cleaning operations should take the prescribed dose of Doxycyclin, she said adding that people should not go for self-medication if they catch a fever.

Enough stock of the medicine was available in all health centres and government hospitals in the state, she added.

A 24-hour helpline had been set up at the DMO’s office where data from even private hospitals and clinics would be compiled. Seventeen specialist doctors from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would be deployed in various parts of the district in the next two weeks

According to officials at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital, the woman died on Sunday morning.

As of Sunday, 40 cases of leptospirosis were reported in the state. Kozhikode reported 28 such cases and the rest were from Alappuzha, Thrissur and Pathanamthitta.

Shailaja said there was no need to panic as the health department had taken all the necessary actions. “Every hospital is stocked with all the required medicines.”

The Minister advised people in the flood-hit areas to take precautions and a course of doxycycline.

With Kozhikode reporting the maximum number of cases, a special isolation ward has been opened at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital.

With Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan leaving for medical treatment to the US, Industries Minister E.P.Jayarajan, the de facto number two in the government, told the media that elaborate arrangements had been made and medicines would be given for free to all.

According to Kerala health officials, around two million people in the state would have come in contact with the flood waters and hence all of them should take preventive care.

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