Fifteen people have been confirmed dead, eight of them in the past two days, in an outbreak of Leptospirosis in Kerala State, India. A total of forty cases of the disease, which is spread when water laced with the urine of infected animals (typically Rodents) gets into open wounds on Humans, have been reported, the majority of them (28) in Kozhikode District, with cases also reported in Alappuzha, Thrissur and Pathanamthitta. The disease is common in India and other tropical countries following flooding, such as that which has hit Kerala during this year's exceptional Monsoon rains.
Leptospirosis is caused by a number of Bacteria in the genus Leptospira, Spirochaete Bacteria related to Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease) and Treponema pallidum (Syphilis). It typically manifests as a bout of severe fever, followed by several days of apparent recovery, then a second bout of fever which may be accompanied by meningitis and/or acute liver failure. The disease can be encountered worldwide, but in developed countries is rare except in those who work with livestock. However in areas of developing countries with poor sanitation outbreaks of Leptospirosisis can reach epidemic proportions during periods of flooding,
SEM image of Leptospira interrogans, one of the causative agents of Leptospirosis.
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