Following the floods that ravished the state of Kerala, Health Care providers faced a daunting challenge within days of this natural tragedy. The state witnessed an outbreak of Rat Fever also known as Leptospirosis. Between August 15th to September 5th this year in Kerala, 13 people lost their lives to this epidemic disease & at least 372 cases were reported in the same period.
Not just Kerala, the neighboring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have also seen a surge in Leptospirosis in the recent days. 136 cases of Rat Fever were reported in flood-hit districts of Kodagu, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and Haveri in Karnataka. An alert has been sounded in these districts and Primary Healthcare Centre (PHCs) in the state is providing free treatment to patients for Leptospirosis. Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore has also witnessed two deaths due to Rat Fever. Healthcare officials, as well as district administration, are monitoring the situation closely.
Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria named Leptospira, it can be spread either through direct contact with urine of infected animals such as rodents (rats), cattle, sheep, horse, goat, pigs, and dogs or by coming in contact with water that is infected with the urine of these animals. Chances of Human-to-Human transmission of this disease are rare. Cases of Leptospirosis have been commonly reported after flooding due to stagnation of water in those regions. Farmers, Agricultural workers, and Fishermen are most prone to contract this disease.
A person suffering from Leptospirosis is most likely to develop some of the following symptoms:
As some of the above symptoms are associated with flu, many patients fail to comprehend if they are suffering from any serious ailment, however, if left untreated, Leptospirosis can lead to internal bleeding and multi-organ failure. This can ultimately lead to death. Hence it is best advised to visit a doctor and get yourself tested to rule out any possibilities. Blood Tests and Serological tests can help in the diagnosis of this disease.