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Leptospirosis cases spike

With the increase of rains, Sri Lanka will see a spike in the number of leptospirosis (rat fever) cases as well, the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services revealed.

According to Epidemiology Unit Disease Surveillance statistics, 1,403 cases of leptospirosis have been reported in Sri Lanka thus far for 2020.

Recently, a Navy officer succumbed to the illness whilst receiving treatment at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Sri Lanka Navy General Hospital in Colombo. Meanwhile, 10 people from the Kurunegala District had died due to leptospirosis in January.

“We generally see an increase of leptospirosis cases at the beginning of the paddy cultivation cycle; many farmers especially are prone to this disease. In addition to that, the disease is prevalent during floods and may cause outbreaks,” Acting Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Samitha Ginige informed.

A person may get infected by leptospirosis if they are exposed to contaminated water while working in fields, construction sites, mines, or whilst cleaning drains or wells as well as bathing and washing in small streams, rivers and lakes, and floodwater.

Contact with water contaminated with urine from an animal known as a reservoir species such as rats and other rodents, buffalo, cattle, dogs, and pigs is the most significant risk condition in transmission.

The presence of breached skin increases the risk of infection.