Indian state battles 'rat fever' outbreak after worst floods in a century

Alert sounded as leptospirosis kills 28 in India's flood-hit Kerela - Xinhua | English.news.cn

Alert sounded as leptospirosis kills 28 in India's flood-hit Kerela - Xinhua | English.news.cn

The state of Kerala has been battling an outbreak of leptospirosis, or rat fever, following the devastating floods in August.

Early symptoms of leptospirosis such as high fever, muscle ache, vomiting, red eyes and chills are similar to those of other diseases, making it hard for health workers to diagnose.

The number of dead from the monsoon floods, which began earlier than usual at the end of May, has risen to 486 in the state of Kerala, the government said.

State health minister K.K. Shailaja clarified that the doctors were not sure if all the deaths reported over the past few days were caused by rat fever.

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The three died of suspected rat fever are Prakashan (43) of Puthanur, Ezhakkad, Mundur, who died in Coimbatore Medical College; Nirmala (50), daughter of Kuttan and Janu of Chempakkara, Ezhakkad of Mundur.

Leading the pack is "rat fever" or leptospirosis, a bacterial disease transmitted in water containing urine from rodents and other animals. Its main symptoms are high fever, headache, chills, abdominal pain and rashes. "After floods, millions and millions of people came in contact with water, so we expected a large number of cases, and we were prepared for that".

Those engaged in cleaning operations should take the prescribed dose of Doxycyclin, she said adding people should not go for self-medication if they catch fever. However, a spurt in the cases has been observed since the worst floods in a century hit the state on August 8. However, due to the surge in demand, officials are racing against time to ensure that there is an adequate supply, as reported by The News Minute.

Meanwhile, Shailaja held an emergency meeting with officials at Kozhikode at 3 pm today to chalk out a detailed action plan to curb further transmission of the disease. Health minister said that the government is also expecting dengue cases and directed the medical officers to carry out intensive drive with the help of respective local self-government bodies in their limits for the elimination of the mosquito breeding spots and for the removal of waste.

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