60 deaths so far due to rat fever

Saturday, 20 August 2011 01:07 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Epidemiology Unit of Sri Lanka Ministry of Health says so far this year 4,779 cases of leptospirosis, also known as rat fever, have been reported in the country with 60 deaths.

The highest number of cases, 1386, was reported from Kurunegala District. Ten people have died in the district due to the disease.  However, the highest number of deaths was reported from Gampaha District where 11 people have died although only 379 cases have been reported.

Eight deaths have been reported from Hambantota District and seven from Kalutara District.

Leptospirosis is a rare and severe bacterial infection that occurs when people are exposed to muddy environments such as paddy fields contaminated with urine of infected animals, most commonly rats.

The Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry says the spirochetes leptospira that carries leptospirosis is normally found in paddy fields, canals, drains, contaminated streams, wells and rivers.

The authorities urge the patients with initial symptoms to seek healthcare very early from a government hospital or a qualified medical practitioner to prevent deaths and complications.