After a 17-year-old boy from Mumbai succumbed to leptospirosis, the death toll for the illness has risen to four. The Times of India reports that the teenager was said to have contracted the disease while wading through the floodwaters through the Worli seaface. The medical reports analysed by the BMC’s public health department showed that the teenager’s death was caused by a delay in addressing the complications of the disease.
According to the reports, the teenager developed a fever on July 3. He had reportedly taken treatment from a private physician for the same. He was then taken to a municipal dispensary when his symptoms showed no signs of abating. There he was advised to visit a tertiary hospital, but by then, he was already vomiting blood. Since he didn’t receive immediate intervention, he developed respiratory problems and was coughing blood. He died at KEM hospital after being put on a ventilator.
As of July 2018, there have been 19 confirmed cases of leptospirosis as opposed to the 5 cases in June. Dr Padmaja Keskar, BMC’s executive health office, told TOI that over 17,000 people have been given the preventive medicine doxycycline. Last year itself, there were 239 cases of lepto and seven resultant deaths.
How To Stay Safe From Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread through the urine of animals infected with the bacteria leptospira. Although the disease is completely treatable, it has the potential to affect every organ in the body if left untreated. Monsoon times usually see a spike in leptospirosis cases, since more people come into contact with the bacterium while they wade through muddy waters. It takes anywhere between two to four weeks for the symptoms of the disease to manifest. Common symptoms of the illness include muscle pains, headaches, fever and bleeding.
One way to stay safe from the disease is to prevent coming in contact with contaminated, muddy floodwaters during rain. If you have to step out, make sure you cover your feet with protective footwear, especially if you have open wounds on them.
What if You Walked Through Rainwater?
If one has waded through the floods due to some unavoidable circumstances, it’s advisable that you take the right precautions immediately. The BMC has directed citizens exposed to flood waters for more than an hour to visit a nearby civic hospital or a dispensary.
According to the civic body’s guidelines, a single dose of 200mg doxycycline or azithromycin should be taken within 72 hours of exposure. The medicines are distributed for free at BMC’s dispensaries and clinics.