Three people from south Gujarat have died of leptospirosis since mid-June,considered the worst start to a leptospirosis outbreak since 2010. At least 24 people have been infected in the same period,one being in Ahmedabad.
Considered top priority in this season,Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas recently chaired an inter-departmental meeting to firm up prevention measures against the bacterial infection.
Health authorities are especially concerned because the sub-type that surfaced in Gujarat two years ago directly attacks the lungs and is,therefore,deadlier than more common sub-types that attack the liver and kidneys.
Since last week,more than one lakh anti-biotic capsules have been distributed to prevent infection in south Gujarat villages,most of them tribal. Distribution (of capsules) will continue for six to eight weeks, said Dr Dinkar Raval,deputy director (epidemics).
By this time of the year two years ago,just 13 cases were registered while in 2011,six cases were reported in the same period. Overall,it had infected more than 900 people last year and killed close to 200 in about four months.
Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria generally found in water mixed with urine of cattle or rodents. Prevalence is higher in the state’s tribal areas,in regions with standing water in paddy fields. Outbreaks normally take place from the first rains in June and lasts till Diwali,although sporadic cases are registered in other seasons too.