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BMC gives anti-leptospirosis medicines to 27,000 Mumbaiites who waded through floods

Bacteria found in urine or excreta of infected animals such as rats, cattle and dogs can cause leptospirosis.

mumbai Updated: Jun 18, 2018 11:25 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
BMC,doxycycline,azithromycin
In the last three days, municipal hospitals have dispensed preventive medicines-- doxycycline or azithromycin, also known as prophylaxis, for the prevention of leptospirosis.(Ht file)

In the past three days, municipal hospitals have dispensed medicines — doxycycline or azithromycin, also known as prophylaxis — to prevent leptospirosis. Nearly 27,000 people who waded through flooded areas during the last spell of heavy rain on June 9 have received the medicine.

About leptospirosis
  • Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease that spreads from animals to humans. The infection is caused by a bacterium called leptospira.
  • How it spreads: The disease spreads mainly during monsoon when humans with cuts or abrasions on their skin get in touch with the urine or excreta of infected animals such as rats, cattle and dogs.
  • At risk: People with a single history of wading in flooded water or contaminated water without wounds, cuts or open lesions in the skin. Also, individuals with single history of wading in flooded water or contaminated water in the presence of wounds, cuts or open lesions in the skin or accidental ingestion of contaminated water.

The bacteria found in the urine or excreta of the infected animals such as rats, cattle and dogs cause leptospirosis. The infection spreads mainly during monsoon when humans with cuts or abrasions on their skin are exposed to flood water mixed with sewage.

At least seven people died of leptospirosis in 2017 in Mumbai, after which the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), for the first time, released an official advisory for the citizens to take the preventive medicines.

“Heavy rain on June 9 forced thousands of people to wade through water mixed with sewage. It has put them at the risk of getting infected with the leptospira bacteria,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

People were given the preventive medicines depending upon the exposure levels and age. Those who have walked through flooded areas can go to the municipal hospitals or private clinics to get free doses of the medicines.

Dr. Keskar said, “People who have walked through flooded waters must immediately wash their feet with clean water and must visit a doctor if exposed for more than half an hour.”

First Published: Jun 18, 2018 00:05 IST