Flood-hit india state of kerala battles rat fever outbreak

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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 suspected cases were reported from Kozhikode, Palakkad, Thrissur, Malappuram and Ernakulam districts.

The report quoted a senior health official as saying at least 300 suspected cases were reported from the state in the last three days.

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Leptospriosis (also called Weil's disease) is spread through rats or animal fluids, and can enter the human body through small cuts in the skin or through the eyes, nose and mouth. A woman became the latest victim of leptospirosis in Thiruvananthapuram, informed officials at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital. Twenty-eight of these were subsequently confirmed as leptospirosis cases, the health official quoted above said.

Shailaja said there was no need to panic as the health department had taken all the necessary actions.

"In the past week, we have seen about 30 deaths in Kozhikode and Wayanad", said Mohammed Javeed, internal medicine specialist at a private hospital in Kerala, referring to two of the worst flood-affected districts on the state's southwest coast. Due to this, a special isolation ward has been opened at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital. People in flood-hit areas and those engaged in cleaning work have been asked to take two 100mg doxycycline tablets after the meal twice a week.

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

With the outbreak of water-borne diseases in flood-ravaged Kerala, the state government has issued an alert to people to maintain extra vigil.

Shailaja said health workers had been directed to monitor people approaching them with suspected rat fever symptoms, collect their data and ensure they are adequately treated. Its symptoms include muscle pain and fever. Elderly people suffering from kidney and liver ailments are the most susceptible.

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