As the district expects another spell of rainfall from Wednesday, the Health Department has issued an alert urging the public to take precautions against possible outbreaks of leptospirosis and other water-borne diseases.
Preventive medicines will be distributed through Primary Health Centres and all wells in the district will be chlorinated from October 21. Leptospirosis is caused by Leptospira, a bacteria transmitted by rodents, cattle, dogs, cats and other animals. If not detected and treated on time, it could lead to complications and death.
In flood-hit areas, chances are high for contact with water or soil contaminated with the urine or excreta of the infected animals, putting residents, rescue workers and volunteers in the high-risk category.
“All persons who come into contact with contaminated water should take doxycycline tablets after consulting health workers. ,” said the District Medical Officer on Tuesday.
In Kollam, places including Punalur, Kulathupuzha, Piravanthur and West Kallada had reported leptospirosis cases in the past.
Sudden fever and chills, severe headache, muscle aches, pain below the knee, lower back pain, redness in the eyes, jaundice, yellowing of the skin and eyes, and yellowing of the urine are symptoms.
If jaundice is accompanied by a strong fever, it can be leptospirosis. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and red spots on the skin.
When leptospirosis affects the liver, it causes jaundice, and when it affects the kidneys, it causes a decrease in urine output, bloody urine and swollen legs. Volunteers and sanitation workers have been advised to use personal protective equipment that include gloves, knee-length footwear and masks.