Rat fever disease takes over flood-ravaged Kerala, 15 dead

Representational Picture. Pic Credits: Madhyamam.com

A woman died of leptospirosis (rat fever) in the flood-ravaged Kerala on Sunday, increasing the death toll related to diseases to 15. In the past two days, the disease has claimed the lives of eight people, being able to be transmitted from animals to humans.

The contamination risk of the disease is high due to the floods. Health Minister K.K. Shailaja has assured that there was no need to panic.

According to reports, 40 cases of leptospirosis have been counted uptil now. Kozhikode reported 28 such cases, leading to the opening of a special isolation ward in the hospital, and the rest were from Alappuzha, Thrissur and Pathanamthitta.

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Shailaja said there was no need to panic as the health department had taken all the necessary actions. “Every hospital is stocked with all the required medicines.”

The Minister also advised people in the flood-hit areas to take precautions and a course of doxycycline.

According to Kerala health officials, around two million people in the state would have come in contact with the flood waters and hence all of them should take preventive care.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier left for the U.S to seek medical treatment. Meanwhile, Industries Minister E.P.Jayarajan, the de facto number two in the government, told the media that elaborate arrangements had been made and medicines would be given for free to all.

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In one of the first unprecedented floods in history, fresh onslaught of rain in Kerala since August 8 has led to a death toll of over 400. 80 dams have been opened. A red alert has been issued in all the 14 districts of the state. There have been power cuts and food shortage across the state.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to the flood ravaged state of Kerala after chairing a high level meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister Alphons KJ and other state ministers for checking rehabilitations measures and assessing the damage. He also announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh per person to the next kin of the deceased.

The President of the United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan instructed officials to set up a national emergency committee to help flood-hit areas of Kerala, reported news agency ANI.

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Gadgil, said that the scale of the disaster would have been smaller had the state government and local authorities followed environmental laws. He headed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel formed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2010, said at least a part of the problem in Kerala was “man made”.

“Yes, there is an intense rainfall event which has caused this. But I am quite convinced that the last several years’ developments in the state have materially compromised its ability to deal with events like this and greatly increased the magnitude of the suffering that we are seeing today. Had proper steps been taken, the scale of the disaster would have been nowhere near what it is today,” Dr Gadgil told The Indian Express.

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