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Maharashtra doctors in Kerala warn of an epidemic outbreak, massive health camps planned

Speaking from Ernakulam, one of the worst-hit parts of Kerala, Dr Arshad Khan, chief coordinator, for the team of 89 doctors from Maharashtra, said, “So far, we have administered 15,000 capsules of doxycycline (200 mg) as a prophylactic measure. As of now the fear of an epidemic is lurking upon the people of Kerala. We are expecting an outbreak of water-borne infections and are in talks with our government and the Kerala health department for preventive measures.”

pune Updated: Aug 24, 2018 15:39 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
Maharashtrian families,migrants,kerala
Medical camp at Ernakulam.(HT PHOTO)

The team of doctors from Maharashtra engaged in providing medical relief to flood-hit people of Kerala has expressed fear of an epidemic of leptospirosis and other water-borne diseases. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection from farm animals, dogs and rodents, spread through their urine.

Speaking from Ernakulam, one of the worst-hit parts of Kerala, Dr Arshad Khan, chief coordinator, for the team of 89 doctors from Maharashtra, said, “So far, we have administered 15,000 capsules of doxycycline (200 mg) as a prophylactic measure. As of now the fear of an epidemic is lurking upon the people of Kerala. We are expecting an outbreak of water-borne infections and are in talks with our government and the Kerala health department for preventive measures.”

Dr Arshad Khan, chief coordinator, for the team of 89 doctors from Maharashtra. (HT PHOTO)

Dr Khan said that a massive diagnostic medical camp has been planned to deal with the infection in its early stages and offer treatment as early as possible “so that severe morbidity and mortality can be curbed as a result of the outbreak.”

He said in case there is a need for more doctors for the diagnostic camps, teams from Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Mumbai are being organised. “As of now we are getting cases of fever, fungal infection, water-borne infection, chest and lung infection and diarrhoea,” he said.

Dr Sunil Patil, associate professor (gynaecology), BJ Medical College, Pune, who has been heading a small team of nine doctors in Ernakulum, said, on arrival, four days ago, more than 10,000 people turned up at the camp manned by the Maharashtra team and doctors from Ernakulam civil hospital. “We are now divided into teams and attend to about 1,000 patients daily,” he said.

Dr Gajanan Bharti, team leader of the BJMC doctors, Pune, said, while the waters have receded, what needs immediate attention is sanitation and the removal of carcasses of dead animals which could cause infections.

Stranded Maharashtrian families in Kerala. (HT PHOTO)

Maharashtrian families who migrated to Kerala now wish to come back

Among those who were stranded during the floods in Kerala were some families originally from Maharashtra, who had migrated to the state in search of jobs.

According to Dr Gajanan Bharti, doctor from BJ Medical College who is leading a Pune team of doctors in Kerala, there are around 200 people from Maharashtra who were stranded in a village named Aluva in Ernakulam district of Kerala during the floods. While water has receded in their village, the villagers have no place to stay and are practically living on the road, said Bharti.

“Around 25 families were stuck and need urgent help (monetary and other items like food and clothes). These families hail from Satara and Solapur districts of western Maharashtra, but migrated to Kerala a few years ago for employment,” said Bharti.

Most of the family members, according to Bharti, are poor labourers and work in the construction industry. “Only because they could earn ₹100 more as compared to what they were getting back home, they migrated to Kerala,” said Bharti. These families have lost everything in the floods and are left with nothing, but one set of clothes, added Bharti.

The families are now pleading to return to Maharashtra, said another doctor. “They want to come back. They are facing language issues and are feeling stranded and alone. They have appealed for an assistance to come back. The families comprise elderly and children as well. They are currently residing at the town hall of the nagar parishad in Aluva village. Anybody willing to help can get in touch with the government authorities in Aluva,” the doctor added.

First Published: Aug 24, 2018 15:38 IST