Recurrent scourge

Spread of rat fever in Kerala, once again points to the lacuna of the authorities in controlling the disease

Published: Thursday 31 October 2002

kerala is once again in the grip of leptospirosis, commonly known as rat fever. According to P K Sivaraman additional director, ministry of health, Kerala, though 1,621 cases of the disease have been reported from different parts of the state this year, only 68 have been confirmed till now.

Leptospirosis, which is characterised by high fever and renal failure spreads from the causal organism 'leptospira' that multiplies in soil in areas with stagnant water. The bacterium is transmitted to humans through cuts and abrasions when they come in contact with contaminated water. Rats are one of the carriers of the disease.

Though the disease is an annual feature in the state, the government has not taken any concrete measures to control it. The only step the authorities have taken this year is to declare rat fever a notifiable disease. This makes it mandatory to report all suspected cases to the designated authorities.

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