Mumbai monsoons: BMC cautions citizens against leptospirosis

In the face of the heavy rainfall and consequent waterlogging in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued an advisory on leptospirosis, a bacterial disease, says media reports.

What is leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that spreads through the urine of infected animals. Animals like dogs, pigs, cows and rodents, which have close contact with human beings, can be the carrier of the disease.

Why the fear of getting infected?
Leptospirosis can spread through the animal’s body fluids to water and then to human beings. In monsoon, waterlogging is extremely common in Indian cities like Mumbai and the chance of animal urine mixed with flooded water infecting human beings rises. Doctors say that the risk increases when people have injuries in their feet or body parts and then wade through dirty water in the rains.

The symptoms
According to health experts, some of the symptoms of leptospirosis includes fever with chills, joint pains, cough, rashes, vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundice and sore throat.

The treatment
If one has the above symptoms and if they have recently walked through waterlogged streets, they should immediately consult a doctor. One should completely avoid self-medication.
If the symptoms are not severe, the doctor can prescribe antibiotics, such as doxycycline or penicillin. Patients with severe leptospirosis will have to be admitted to hospitals and doctors will then suggest the course of action. Women who are expecting should be extra cautious as leptospirosis can affect the fetus, say doctors.