Health Department advises vigil

With leptospirosis (rat fever) cases in the district on the rise, the Health Department has advised people to stay vigilant and instructed persons coming in the high-risk category to take all necessary precautions.

Four deaths have been reported in the district in 2018.

As many as 39 patients have been diagnosed with leptospirosis and 62 others are suspected to have contracted the disease.

Leptospirosis is caused by Leptospira, a bacteria transmitted by rodents, cattle, dog, cat and other animals.

Human beings contract the infection when they come into contact with water or soil contaminated with the urine or excreta of the infected animals. Fever, severe headache, muscle pain, yellowish urine and redness in the eyes are the common symptoms of leptospirosis, which can be fatal if not treated on time.

High-risk group

MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) workers, who come under the high-risk group, have been instructed to wear gloves and gum boots while on the field.

“Now others, including farmers, veterinary doctors, livestock inspectors and fishermen, have entered the group. Even drivers who wash their vehicles in muddy waters and dhobies are highly susceptible. Fever accompanied by the symptoms of jaundice can be rat fever,” says Deputy District Medical Officer Sandhya.

In Kollam, the maximum number of cases were reported from Punalur, Palathara, Kulathupuzha, Elamballoor, Piravanthur, Melila and West Kallada.

“We have started an intensive awareness drive in the areas that reported leptospirosis cases and the department will administer preventive medicines to persons falling in the high-risk category. We are focusing on plantation areas with muddy waters," she said.

The department has intensified the vector control measures in the district.

“All the households in the district are being inspected by health volunteers and many residents who failed to clear mosquito breeding sources were imposed a penalty. We are also monitoring areas where dengue cases were reported and currently all preventive measures are in place,” she said.

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