Kerala Floods: Rat Fever Takes At Least 15 Lives, State Health Minister Says No Need To Panic
While the incessant rains have long stopped in Kerala, what lies ahead for the southern state is the mammoth task of rebuilding itself. However, after the floods and rains, Kerala is faced with a new challenge of battling the outbreak of leptospirosis (rat fever) which has reportedly claimed at least 15 lives till date.
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.
According to Live Mint, a health ministry spokesperson has said that there have been 200 confirmed cases of the waterborne disease across different districts of the flood-ravaged state. Following this, the state has issued a high alert in all of its 14 districts, however, state health minister KK Shailaja said that there is no need to panic. Reportedly, the hospitals have been stocked with the necessary medication needed to combat this disease.
What is the rat fever?
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease which is transmitted through animals to humans and is commonly known as rat fever. The chances of humans contracting this fever are especially high after floods since people come in contact with the water which is contaminated by the urine of rodents and rats which are infected. The symptoms of this disease include fever, rashes, and abdominal aches. Around two lakh people are reported to have come in contact with the flood water. The health minister has even asked people to take precautionary measures against the disease. Reportedly, a preventive tablet, Doxycycline, was made available at no cost across the state. 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.
How is the state planning to combat the disease?
In the wake of such a situation, TP Ramakrishnan, Minister for Labour and Excise said that an 85-bed isolation ward would be set up at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, along with special facilities which are being provided at Government General Hospital in Kozhikode and government hospitals in Vadakara, Koyilandy, and Feroke respectively, reported The Hindu.
The daily also reported that a 24-hour helpline has been set up at the DMO’s office which will compile data from all private hospitals and clinics. More medical camps would be set up at the community health care centres in Kozikhode where preventive care medication would be distributed.
Reportedly, the health minister has also directed all medical officers to follow a 30-day micro action plan to combat the disease. Fearing the outbreak of dengue in the upcoming days, the minister has also directed local self-governing bodies to eliminate the breeding spots and remove waste as well. According to the Times Of India, she further informed that the state’s health department has received guidance from WHO expert panel, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and the national centre for disease control (NCDC) along with the Union health ministry to carry out planning operations.