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Kerala Floods: Prevention Of Water-borne Diseases

Kerala faces its worst monsoon ever in 100 years and the death toll has crossed 350. Adding onto this, the flood-hit state is already grappling with vector-borne diseases like chikungunya and dengue. The public health experts are warning of an outbreak of typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and leptospirosis.

According to the Directorate of Health Services (DHS), Kerala, the state has already recorded 225 cases of leptospirosis, 846 cases of dengue fever, 518 cases of malaria, 34 cases of chikungunya, and 191,945 cases of acute diarrhoeal disease (ADD).

Read on to know about the water-borne diseases caused by floods.

1. Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria. This bacteria is passed on from animals to humans through urine, and can be found in the soil and water during the floods. Leptospira can enter the human's body through the eyes, open wounds or mucous membranes.

Symptoms Of Leptospirosis

The signs and symptoms usually appear 5 to 14 days after the infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, the time between a person's exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is 2 days to 4 weeks.

These are the symptoms:

  • Rash
    • Diarrhoea
    • Red eyes
    • High fever
    • Headache
    • Abdominal pain
    • Jaundice
    • Vomiting
    • Chills
    • Muscle aches

    In a more severe case, the disease can lead to kidney or liver failure or meningitis. The illness lasts from a few days to 3 weeks or longer.

    Treatment For Leptospirosis

    Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics which includes doxycycline and penicillin. In the case of severe symptoms, antibiotics could be administered intravenously.

    Tips to avoid leptospirosis

    • Washing hands with soap and water after handling animals.
      • Controlling pests
      • Don't touch dead animals with bare hands.
      • Clean all the open wounds and cover them with waterproof dressings.
      • After flooding, avoid swimming and wading and shower at once after exposure.
      • Avoid consuming anything that has been in contact with flood water.
      • Ensure that your dogs have been vaccinated against leptospirosis.

      2. Hepatitis A

      The outbreak of hepatitis A is usually recorded after flood-related sewage contamination of water sources. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It spreads from infected food or water.

      Symptoms Of Hepatitis A

      The symptoms include the following:

Read more about: kerala flood diseases
Story first published: Monday, August 20, 2018, 11:35 [IST]
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