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Kerala Floods Bring Leptospirosis: Understand What It Is!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
General Physician, Faridabad  •  4 years experience
Kerala Floods Bring Leptospirosis: Understand What It Is!

One of the worst floods ever in Kerala has brought a deluge of Leptospirosis.

The Director of the Health Department issued an alert that there is a sudden increase of Leptospirosis cases from Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Kannur districts.

According to the report, 28 cases of Leptospirosis were reported in Kozhikode. Further , DMO reported that there were 64 people who were suspected of suffering from this disease.

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is commonly known as “Rat Fever.” It is an infection caused by a bacteria called 'Leptospira interrogans' . The infection is transmitted through the urine of rodents, dogs, and farm animals.

Leptospirosis is the kind of Flu that lasts for one or two weeks but revives again once it is cured.

If left untreated, it can also lead to some more serious problems, like chest pain, swollen legs, and arms. In most cases, doctors recommend hospitalization.

Causes of Leptospirosis:

  • Blood, urine, or tissue transmitted from cattle, pigs, dogs, or animals that carry the bacteria.

  • Direct or indirect contact with water that is contaminated with bacteria.

  • Direct or indirect contact with soil that has bacteria.

Common symptoms associated with Leptospirosis are as below :

How to Prevent Leptospirosis?

Some of the helpful ways to prevent Leptospirosis are:

1. Avoid Contact with Contaminated Water and Soil

Since Leptospirosis is caused by contaminated water or soil, one should avoid drinking contaminated water. Try to limit the contact with contaminated soil as well. Wearing full clothes and drinking filtered water is beneficial.

2. Use Disinfectants

Disinfectants like Lysol, Bleach, Iodine, and Acid Solutions will help to kill the bacteria that cause Leptospirosis. Using these regularly may lower the rate of Leptospirosis.

3. Maintain Hygiene

Maintaining hygiene is one of the best ways to inhibit the bacteria. Washing hands with disinfectants while eating or drinking will help a lot, especially in this worse situation of Kerala.

4. Do Not Eat or Drink While Handling Animals.

One must ensure that they do not eat, drink, or smoke anything while handling the animals, as it increases the chances of bacteria to enter the body.

5. Treat Wounds Immediately

As bacteria can even be transmitted in the bloodstream, it is necessary to treat wounds and injuries immediately. Also, it should be ensured that open wounds do not come in contact with contaminated water or soil, as they will provide a direct pathway for the bacteria.

Since it is difficult to eliminate Leptospirosis in this deteriorating situation of Kerala, these preventive measures may help to inhibit the bacteria. However, consulting a doctor or immediate treatment will always be a great idea to cure the disease.

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