Dr. J.K. Bhutani
Come monsoons and the outbreaks of Leptospirosis, a zoonotic disease are reported from coastal districts Maharashtra.
Leptospirosis is primarily a contagious disease of animals, occasionally infecting humans. It is caused by pathogenic Spirochete of the genus Leptospira, a type of bacteria that traditionally consist of two species L. interrogans and L. biflexa.
How does it spread?
The domestic animals carry the microorganisms and therefore act as carriers of the leptospires. Together the rodents and the cattle excrete large number of organisms in their urine and thus are responsible for the contamination of large and small water bodies.
In monsoons the water logged areas force the rodent population to abandon their burrows and contaminate the stagnant water by their urine. The farmers and agricultural labourers working in the water logged contaminated fields catch the infection if they move in with abraded or cut skin.
Clinical Symptoms of Leptosirosis
The common symptoms are: fever, muscle pains, conjunctival haemorrhage, headache, pulmonary and renal hemorrhagic complications.
The patients are often misdiagnosed as malaria, dengue hemorrhagic fever, viral hepatitis etc. The clinical suspicion must be reported to the medical specialist soon for proper diagnosis with the laboratory aids.
Weil’s syndrome, is the more severe form of leptospirosis having more severe course with jaundice, oliguria and haemorrhagic complications
How to prevent the outbreak?
Elimination of water logging, ensuring proper drainage of rainwater and control of the rodents will prevent the outbreak of leptospirosis. These measures are typically taken by the civic bodies but at individual level the following measures will be of help:
- Do not move in stagnant water without proper rain boots and covered skin especially if you have cut or abraded skin.
- Wash the exposed skin immediately after coming from the water soaked area.
- On doctor’s recommendation, one may take antibiotic Doxycycline 200 milligram once a week for the period of 6-8 weeks. This is prophylactic (preventive) in nature. On the same line, doxycycline may be given to agricultural workers (example: paddy field workers, canal cleaning workers in endemic areas) from where large number of cases have been reported like in Mumbai, now a days.
Dr J.K. Bhutani MD is a protagonist of preventive and promotive health care based on austere biology and facilitating self healing powers of human organism.
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