Out of the 41 rat fever deaths that have been confirmed across the state since August, 20 cases are from Kozhikode alone, while 22 are suspected cases of leptospirosis.

Most cases coming in late Kozhikode doctors battle rat fever outbreak
news Rat fever Monday, September 03, 2018 - 19:33

It was only months ago that the Kozhikode Medical College was at the centre of the Nipah Virus outbreak that claimed 17 lives in the state. Now weeks after the worst floods Kerala has witnessed in a century, medical staff at Kozhikode Medical College are once again all hands-on deck following the outbreak of leptospirosis or rat fever in the district.

Out of the 41 rat fever deaths that have been confirmed across the state since August, 20 cases are from Kozhikode alone, while 22 are suspected cases of leptospirosis. Doctors, however, warn that the death toll could rise as most cases are being admitted only in the later stages.

Two of the three deaths were that were reported on Monday in the state were from Kozhikode. 

“The known data on deaths are confirmed rat fever cases, the number of probable rat fever cases that have resulted in deaths have not been calculated yet,” said one of the doctors whose ward saw 2 rat fever deaths on Monday. “This is because a person may be brought in for suspected rat fever and we send the blood for a leptospira IGM test, the test result may come back as negative but within the next two days the person would die,” explains the doctor.

Preliminary data from the District Medical Officers (DMO) office suggests that 187 suspected cases have so far been reported across the district of which 84 cases of rat fever have been confirmed.

Urging the public not to ignore symptoms, another doctor said, "The high fatality is because people do not approach the doctor during the early stages of the disease. The disease has two stages, the first stage the bacteria manifests in the blood, and the patient will show signs of high fever, myalgia among other symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is muscle pain but then the patient will just go to a medical shop and get a painkiller and feel temporary relief. The second stage is when the disease affects the organs, by then it's too late and there is very little a doctor can do,” 

At the medical hospital, 6 units or 24 wards have been dedicated for patients being brought in with symptoms of leptospirosis or rat fever. Those showing signs of stability in their vitals, namely blood pressure and liver function are being shifted to the geriatric ward.

“A vast majority of the cases are being brought to the medical college, less severe cases are being handled at the general, taluk and PHC level hospitals and those who can afford the cost of private hospitals are going there. An exact number of how many suspected cases, how many confirmed cases of rat fever is there in the hospital will be known once the data from each unit has been calculated. The census taking process is still ongoing,” said Sajeeth K, Superintendent, Kozhikode Medical College.

The doctors are advising the public to take doxocycline tablets as a preventive measure against the disease that spreads mostly through water contaminated with rat urine. 

 

Topic tags,

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.