The death toll for leptospirosis, in Mumbai and its suburbs has risen during the last six days, to 25. There have been 219 confirmed cases of leptospirosis reported from various parts of the city.
The first case of the disease was reported from Mumbai about a week ago. Though no other part of Maharashtra has reported a case, a cleanliness drive has been launched to kill rats. About 35,000 rats have been killed in Mumbai so far. The disease is spread to human beings through rats and other rodents. These animals excrete the disease bacteria in their urine. The bacteria can survive in the water and soil for many days. When humans come into contact with such soil or water, the bacteria enter their bodies through any broken skin or mucous membranes.
The common symptoms of the condition include fever, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting. These may sometimes be associated with yellowing of the skin and eyes. Severe cases may have internal bleeding and may have to be hospitalised.
The health authorities of the state have been deliberating about the outbreak leading to the cleanliness drive. However, precautions need to be taken by the people themselves to protect themselves from the disease. People who come in contact with possibly contaminated vegetation or soil should take care that all wounds are covered. Proper protective clothing like water-proof boots and gloves must be worn during the time of contact with the sources of infection. Travellers going to leptospirosis-prone areas should take preventive antibiotics after consulting a doctor.
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