‘Rat fever’ threatens thousands after Indian state’s worst floods

Two sanitation workers die of rat fever in Kerala toll at 31

Two sanitation workers die of rat fever in Kerala toll at 31

However, a spurt in the cases has been observed since the worst floods in a century hit the state on August 8.

"Since a lot of these infected animals died during the floods, the bacterial levels in the water is high". As many as 302 confirmed and 719 suspected cases of the bacterial disease have also been reported in the state since August 1, majority in Kozhikode district.

Health Minister K.K. Shailaja told reporters the health ministry were distributing preventive medicine and warned of other waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera.

At least 60 people from Kozhikode district, which has yet to recover fully from the nipah virus outbreak that killed 17 people in June, reported sick with symptoms of rat fever in the last few days.

Two of the disease's latest victims have been identified as Ranju from Ranni in Idukki and Anil Kumar from Kozhikode, who had actively taken part in cleanup operations after the floods, reported The Telegraph. Dr V R Rajendran, principal of Kozhikode Government Medical College said that doxy corners have already set up at the medical college campus to distribute doxycycline tablets to people visiting the medical college hospital. The disease, which was first reported in the state this monsoon on August 26, is transmitted by a bacteria that has a lifespan of seven to 12 days.

Enough stock of the medicine was available in all health centres and government hospitals in the state, she added.

With Kozhikode reporting the maximum number of cases, a special isolation ward has been opened at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital. The symptoms of this disease include fever, rashes, and abdominal aches.

According to Kerala health officials, around two million people in the state would have come in contact with the flood waters and hence all of them should take preventive care.

Adithyan, 53, of Eramangalam in Malappuram district, who died on Sunday, was later confirmed to have been treated for rat fever.

If treatment is delayed, rat fever could affect the liver, kidney, lungs and heart, leading to death.

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