Ernakulam sees spike in leptospirosis cases

Twenty-nine cases confirmed in October; six suspected deaths due to the disease

The number of confirmed leptospirosis cases in Ernakulam district has gone up in October compared to figures in September.

Eighteen cases were confirmed in September, while the number of suspected cases was 51. The number of confirmed cases was 29 as on October 26. Forty-eight suspected cases were also reported in the district from October 1 to 26, according to official estimates. The number of deaths due to suspected leptospirosis went up from five in September to six this month. Ernakulam has witnessed 304 suspected cases since January this year. The number of confirmed cases is 133.

District Medical Officer N.K. Kuttappan said the cases would go up once the rains were over. People in rain-affected areas and those engaged in relief and cleaning work should take doxycycline tablets on the advice of health workers, he added.

Dr. Kuttappan said those who died of leptospirosis were found to have not taken preventive medicines. They had also delayed receiving proper medical care.

The health authorities said people should refrain from self-medication, if they have leptospirosis symptoms. They include fever, redness in eyes, headache, skin rash, and muscle pain. Any delay in taking treatment leads to liver and kidney problems. Multi-organ failure is reported in severe cases.

Those rearing cattle and involved in agriculture as well as cleaning workers need to be careful, as chances of getting infected through urine and droppings of animals in stagnant water are high. “They should take doxycycline tablets distributed by the government,” Dr. Kuttappan said.

Workers in such scenarios should wear boots covering feet to prevent getting exposed to infection. They should also wear gloves as a precautionary measure. Those with wounds in hands or feet should stay away from work and return only after they are cured, the health authorities said.

The Health Department pointed out that conditions like fever and throat pain need not be viewed as symptoms of COVID-19 alone, as they could be due to leptospirosis and dengue fever.

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