Kerala floods: Woman dies of rat fever as death toll reaches 15

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It is the district from where the most number of leptospirosis cases have been reported. Twenty-eight of these were subsequently confirmed as leptospirosis cases, the health official quoted above said.

Leptospirosis, also called Weil's disease, is transmitted through water containing urine from rodents and other animals.

The disaster - the worst floods the tourist haven of Kerala has witnessed in a century - killed almost 500 people, drove one million out of their homes, knocked buildings down, washed away farmland, and destroyed major roads and bridges.

Two other people - identified as Raja, 48, from Aluva in Ernakulam district and Santosh, 42, from Angadippuram in Malappuram district, died of fever.

As many as 33 people have died in Kerala due to leptospirosis while 68 people have been hospitalised with suspected symptoms of the disease.

Dr Reena K.J., the additional director of health services, said the toll and infection rate would have been much higher if majority of the people had not taken the preventive medicine.

Earlier on Sunday, the health Minister KK Shailaja also said that there was no need to panic.

As most of the cases have been reported at Kozhikode medical college, a special isolation ward has been opened at the hospital. Health department has issued alert in these regions which include flood hit areas of the western regions of Changanassery, Kumarakom, Vechoor, Thalayolaparambu, Kallara, Maravanthuruth and Vaikom.

Around 350 people with suspected symptoms of leptospirosis took treatment in different parts of the state, and out of this more than 150 cases were tested positive in the last five days, health officials said.

As of Monday evening, 10 deaths were being treated as confirmed cases of rat fever after the floods.

Apart from this Kerala health officials advised around two million people in the state who have had come in contact with the flood waters to take preventive measures to get themselves away from the disease. The disease is communicable through infected rats/rodents and generally affect the people having liver or kidney diseases.

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