Deadly 'rat fever' in flood-ravaged Indian state

The Kerala government is preparing to revamp its healthcare system as people start returning home from flood relief camps

The Kerala government is preparing to revamp its healthcare system as people start returning home from flood relief camps

As many as 33 people have died in Kerala due to leptospirosis while 68 people have been hospitalised with suspected symptoms of the disease. "As more cases have been reported from Kozhikode district, an isolated war-room will be set up in Kozhikode medical college".

Two of those who died on Monday were volunteers who actively participated in cleanup operations after the flood.

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. However, there will be high alert for another three weeks to keep a check on the cases to take quick preventive measures, she said.

The number of dead from the monsoon floods, which began earlier than usual at the end of May, has risen to 486 in the state of Kerala, the government said. Even though there were wide advisories after the flood, people were reluctant to consume precautionary tablets.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that infects both humans and animals.

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

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Health officials in the state said there was no immediate cause for alarm and the situation was under control.

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

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. Many of us, organizations and establishments beget promised assist and if all this materializes in an spectacular manner, the direct could perchance additionally be solved with out direct.

"This time it is a fast, progressive infection", Javeed told Reuters.

People with wounds or cuts are more likely to catch the disease and are advised to avoid contact stagnant or contaminated water.

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

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