Following the floods in the state of Kerala, health department officials are now reporting an influx in the number of cases of leptospirosis. Leptospirosis, often dubbed "rat fever", is commonly spread through the urine of infected rats while its symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pain, and tiredness.
The Directorate of Health Services had on August 28 issued a leptospirosis alert stating, “There is a sudden increase of Leptospirosis from Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Kannur districts. All of them had indirect contact with flood water. You may take this situation very seriously and alert the entire clinical team of your district. Any fever with myalgia to be taken as Leptospirosis and to be treated accordingly until further orders."
In 2017 alone, there were 1,408 confirmed cases of leptospirosis reported in the state of Kerala, of which there were 80 deaths reported. In 2016, there were 1,710 cases confirmed of which 35 succumbed to the infection. Infected animals can shed the leptospira through normal bodily secretions, most commonly through urine. If this comes in contact with a water body, it will contaminate the water. Leptospirosis is diagnosed by blood and urine tests. Those found to have contracted the infection are treated with doxycycline and supportive measures as deemed necessary.