ibusinesslines.com September 19, 2018

'Rat fever' outbreak hits Kerala after worst floods in a century

06 September 2018, 04:58 | Melissa Porter

Military Medical Services personnel sanitize a flood-hit school in Kochi on Friday Aug 31 2018

Military Medical Services personnel sanitize a flood-hit school in Kochi on Friday Aug 31 2018

Kochi: Twelve people have died of leptospirosis disease in Kerala between August 1 and September 3, while 372 confirmed leptospirosis cases have been reported from the flood-hit state since August 1.

The number of people affected by rat fever reached to nine as two more people succumbed to the disease on Monday.

Doctors said the possibility of contracting leptospirosis, a zoonotic disease that transmits from animals to humans, is high during floods. The symptoms include high fever, rashes, chills. Communicable diseases in the state have killed 84 people since the beginning of August, including 20 people in the past two days. Those found to be positive for leptospirosis are given penicillin, unless they are allergic to the same in which case alternative medications are given.

As on Sunday, 5640 people have been reported down with fever across the state of whom 289 are in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, 254 in Kollam, 179 in Pathanamthitta, 46 in Idukki, 204 in Kottayam, 462 in Alappuzha, 266 in Ernakulam, 516 in Thrissur, 656 in Palakkad, 676 in Malappuram, 658 in Kozhikode, 459 in Wayanad, 576 in Kannur and 399 in Kasargod.

"Today in Kozhikode we have seen 57 new suspected cases, totally we now have 239 suspected cases of the fever", said Kozhikode District Medical Officer (DMO) Dr Jayashree.

She further informed that the health department received guidance of expert panel of WHO, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Non Communicable diseases (NCD), national centre for disease control (NCDC), Union health ministry and Manipal Institute of Virus Research to carry out planning. The Minister advised people in the flood-hit areas to take precautions and a course of doxycycline.

"We are keeping utmost vigil".

The Kerala government is preparing to revamp its healthcare system as people start returning home from flood relief camps.

Talking to reporters after a meeting to review the fever-situation, Health Minister K K Shylaja said the government was ready with a plan to check the spread of different types of fever including leptospirosis. As many as 142 people were undergoing treatment for fever at the medical college now, of which 38 have leptospirosis.

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