Gujarat: 104 died due to Leptospirosis in 2 months | india | Hindustan Times
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Gujarat: 104 died due to Leptospirosis in 2 months

Leptospiral infection has claimed 104 people, mostly poor agriculture labourers in south Gujarat in last two months. So far, 545 cases of the deadly infection were reported from the region where around 100 people succumb to the disease during monsoon annually.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2011 23:56 IST
Mahesh Langa

Leptospiral infection has claimed 104 people, mostly poor agriculture labourers in south Gujarat in last two months. So far, 545 cases of the deadly infection were reported from the region where around 100 people succumb to the disease during monsoon annually.

"Twelve deaths were reported on Tuesday, the highest in a day this monsoon. In last two days, 21 new deaths have occurred," said Dr Bharat Patel from Surat civil hospital. He added that most of the deaths have been reported from Surat district (42) followed by Tapi (31).

At present, more 150 patients are under treatment at various hospitals, stoking fears of higher death toll.

Besides rural areas in Surat and Tapi, epidemic has spread in interiors of Navsari and Valsad districts, as the health authorities have failed to contain its spread.

"We have been trying but continuous rainfall has exasperated the situation in interiors because of water logging in fields. Those who get infection are farm labourers who live in the farms," said a medical officer from Surat district.

According to him, 20-30% death ratio is very usual in this infection. "One of the main reasons for high death ration is delay in treatment, as it the disease is prevalent in interiors where health facilities are not available very easily and secondly, over 90 % victims are poor labourers who don’t have means to get timely treatment," he said, explaining why the death ration is high.

The leptospirosis bacteria are discharged in urine by rats and cattle and it enters the human body through wounds, eyes or mouth while working in waterlogged areas. Mostly farm labourers become victim of the disease as they have to work in waterlogged fields.

What is leptospirosis: a fact file

Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria called Leptospira that spreads through contact with fresh water (rainwater, lake, river, stream) or soil contaminated with urine of infected animals

Symptoms can appear between 2 days and 4 weeks after infection. These include flu-like symptoms, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach ache and rash. Sometimes there are no symptoms

Untreated, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, and death

Protecting yourself: Wait for cuts or scrapes to heal before going into fresh water or damp soil. If you can't wait, cover them with waterproof bandages.