With the rainy season setting in, the District Medical Officer (DMO) in Kozhikode has issued an alert on the spread of rat fever. Everyone has to take proper precautions, said a statement from the DMO.
The disease is spread by rats, squirrels and cattle. When people come into contact with the urine of these animals or water or soil in which the urine is present, they get the infection. The initial symptoms of rat fever are fever, headache, muscle pain, red eye and vomiting. If the disease becomes severe, liver, kidneys, lungs and heart are affected.
People having these symptoms should never attempt self-treatment. They should consult medical practitioners as treatment is available at all health institutions. If symptoms are noticed, immediately seek medical help.
Workers coming into contact with polluted water should wear hand gloves and proper footwear. In case there are cuts or wounds on the body, avoid contact with polluted water and soil. Everyone who is involved in such work has to take a 200 mg doxycycline tablet every week. This routine can be continued for up to six weeks. The tablet is available free of cost at all health centres.
The other aspects people need to take care of include keeping food items and drinking water covered, managing garbage properly so that illegal dumping of waste is avoided, checking the rat menace and keeping the house and surroundings clean.