Kerala floods: 324 dead, monsoon related diseases pose another challenge

While rescue and relief operations have given hope to those stranded in the state, preparations for post-flood disease management have started in full swing. Unfortunately, the time is ripe for the spread of several waterborne diseases

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Rains have slowed down in Kerala and water in many reservoirs has started receding. But, the damage done by the deluge is huge, and flood has claimed more than 324 lives and 223139 people are in about 1500+ relief camps.

There is fear of outbreaks of epidemics like dengue, chikungunya, malaria, diarrhoea, typhoid, leptospirosis, cholera, jaundice and viral fever in the state post-floods. The number of leptospirosis cases reported since June 01 stands at 292. Fear is being expressed that all such cases will see an increase in number.

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Dr E K Ummer, State President Indian Medical (IMA), said, “We had arranged medical camps and rehabilitation camps. Till now we were providing only emergency healthcare. The challenge of providing healthcare starts now. As the water level has receded, the real challenge will now be to control the epidemic. We have started the fund for rehabilitation purpose.”

DkvMLscWsAgmJGy Infectious organisms, including intestinal bacteria such as E coli, salmonella, and shigella, hepatitis A virus and agents of typhoid, paratyphoid and tetanus, are often found in floodwater. Experts are saying that it is difficult to predict spread of infectious diseases that will be reported post-flood.

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News reports point out that most of the wells in the water lodged areas are contaminated. Many people are not getting access to safe drinking water.

Experts are demanding for an action plan which should contain – supply of safe drinking water, cleaning of drinking water sources, distribution of chlorine tablets, testing of blood, stool and rectal swab of people with symptoms of water borne diseases.

Video courtesy: Indian Navy