In the last week of November 2015, a disastrous cyclone hit the coast of Tamilnadu. The cyclone has flooded Chennai city and destroyed all communication mediums. For more than 15 days the city is under water because of which city airport is shut and no other communication channel is operational. More than 500 humans have lost their lives in this catastrophic flood and animal and property loss is immeasurable.
Such floods create a grave danger of the outbreak of water related diseases : water washed, water borne and vector borne. Doctors are concerned about outbreak of Leptospirosis, Malaria, Gastro, Cholera and Typhoid.
It is a ‘water washed disease’ which is transmitted from animals to humans and commonly referred to as rat-fever. It is caused when a living being with wounded skin comes in the contact with the bacteria-Leptospira. The flood has caused the death of many rats, and doctors are worried about the bacterial transmission of Leptospirosis from these rats. Walking in flood water and contact with broken skin, can be the main case of Leptospirosis in the aftermath of the floods.
It can cause kidney failure, bleeding from lungs and even death. In flood affected areas if anyone is having temperature and unexplained symptoms after having waded in flood waters, he/she should be tested for Leptospirosis.
Outbreak of malaria was observed in the aftermath of all the recent floods in India and other Asian countries. Malaria is a vector borne disease and transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Doctors are worried at observing similar trends post the Chennai floods. Water logging and humid conditions are ideal for mosquitoes to breed and chances of spreading malaria also increases with these situations.
Anyone having high fever with shaking chills and headaches should be tested and then treated for Malaria.
Gastro, Cholera and Typhoid
In flood like situations, drinking water might get mixed with flood water. Flood water may contain human and animal leftovers, feces and even dead animals. There are very high chances that this infected water can get mixed with open drinking water sources or through leaky pipes.
Gastro, Cholera, Typhoid and other water borne diseases are very common during and after floods. Bacteria of these diseases attack the digestive system of the victim. Sometimes, for those stranded in the flood waters, availability of clean drinking water is also an issue. Water borne infections can be avoided with clean drinking water, clean sanitation and self cleanliness. In the absence of purification methods such as boiling and water purifiers, simple chlorine tablets can be used to disinfect water.
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