Water borne diseases claim 7 lives, Kerala government issues alert

Water borne diseases claim 7 lives, Kerala government issues alert

Water borne diseases claim 7 lives, Kerala government issues alert

A health ministry spokesman said as of Sunday there had been almost 200 confirmed cases of what is locally called rat fever - the waterborne disease leptospirosis transmitted via the urine of infected animals, with symptoms including muscle pain and fever.

Dr Reena K.J., the additional director of health services, said the toll and infection rate would have been much higher if majority of the people had not taken the preventive medicine.

The maximum number of cases have come from Kozhikode. It is the district from where the most number of leptospirosis cases have been reported.

But with so many people displaced, leptospirosis has killed six people and infected more than 100 in Kerala, while other diseases have left eight dead. Reportedly, a preventive tablet, Doxycycline, was made available at no cost across the state.

Shailaja said there was no need to panic as the health department had taken all the necessary actions. She added that every hospital has a stock of medicine for the treatment.

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Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and former chief minister Oommen Chandy also took part in a drive organised by Kerala PCC in Alappuzha, one of the worst flood affected areas. The latest death was reported at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital where a woman died on Sunday morning due to the disease that transmits from animals to humans.

On August 2, the state health department had issued a rat fever alert in Kozhikode, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kannur and warned people who are exposed to floodwaters possibly contaminated by rat urine or faeces.

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.

People living in the three districts have been advised to avoid any self-treatment and get yourself checked with the doctors if any of the symptoms occur. The symptoms include high fever, rashes, chills. Elderly people suffering from kidney and liver ailments are the most susceptible.

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