Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease, has claimed numerous lives in Gujarat, taking the death toll to 137 in the last two months.
“As of Wednesday evening, 127 people from the state had died of the disease. Ten patients from Maharashtra, who were brought in for treatment, have also died,” said Dr MK Vadel, medical superintendent of Civil Hospital, Surat.
According to a doctor at the Surat hospital, farmers and labourers had been advised to avoid venturing into waterlogged areas without gumboots. They have also been asked to maintain cleanliness in and around their habitats.According to him, 20-30% mortality rate is very usual in this infection. "One of the main reasons for high mortality is delay in treatment, as 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."
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 farmers are victims of the disease, as they have to work in waterlogged fields.
The symptoms are swelling in the leg and pain in the joints accompanied by high fever. The infection affects vital organs such as kidneys and liver, resulting in more swelling and bleeding.
Eventually lungs too get infected. Vadel said the health department had sent teams to affected areas to control the spread of the disease.
“We have taken measures, but this year, incessant rainfall and absence of sunlight has helped spread the disease fast,” he added.