Surge in the cases of Leptospirosis

A rise in the number of cases of leptospirosis has been reported in Thiruananthapuram even as the district is focusing its efforts on curbing the dengue fever. Dengue has eclipsed the fact that the incidence of leptospirosis has been on the rise in all districts of the state after the rain began.

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by bacteria Leptospira that affects both humans and animals. Humans become infected through direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment. The bacteria enter the body through cuts or abrasions on the skin, or through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes. Person-to-person transmission is rare. The disease has also been known to trigger abortions in cattle.

How does the transmission take place?

Leptospirosis is transmitted by the urine of an infected animal and is contagious as long as it is still moist. Although rats, mice, and moles are important primary hosts, a wide range of other mammals including dogs, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, cows, sheep, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and certain marine mammals are able to carry and transmit the disease as secondary hosts.

What are the symptoms?

In the early stages of the disease, symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness of the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, haemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash.

Who are most vulnerable?

Although the disease can occur to anyone who comes in contact with the urine of infected with Leptospira, its prevalence is seen in cleaning workers, manual labourers and farm workers are most vulnerable. The number of infection increases in rainy season as people wade through waters contaminated with garbage and animal excreta which contain the bacteria.

How is it controlled?

To counter leptospirosis vulnerable sections are put on Doxycycline prophylactic treatment. Care is taken to distinguish the disease from other diseases like Malaria and Dengue as these too show similar symptoms and spread in the same season.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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