Chennai, Pondicherry and other parts of Tamil Nadu were recently flooded and experienced great havoc in terms of damage to lives and property. Some of these areas still continue to suffer the constant lash of heavy rainfall.
In this dire situation, among the fear of outbreak of many diseases, I feel the risk of an outbreak of leptospirosis (a.k.a Rat fever/ Field fever) is high. Here’s some evidence for me to believe so. There were unconfirmed reports of increases in cases of leptospirosis in Chennai in 2011 and 2013. Further, the Mumbai floods were supposed to contribute to leptospirosis.
Good news is, you can protect yourself by spending around 10 rupees for a person.
Here’s what you could do to save yourself:
- If you were exposed for longer periods to flooded waters/ water mixed with sewage and are currently experiencing fever with headache and muscle soreness, take Capsule DOXYCYCLINE 200 mg for 5 – 7 days. You may take two 100 mg capsules. Meanwhile, contact healthcare facility as early as possible.
- If you were exposed to flooded waters mixed with sewage but currently experience no fever, take Capsule DOXYCYCLINE 200 mg once a week for four weeks. Do take it for four weeks.
- A strip of Doxycycline should cost less than 10 rupees. Some brands of DOXYCYCLINE might cost more than 10 rupees, usually up to 50 rupees. Some brands are a combination of DOXYCYCLINE with lactobacilli. It is OK to take that.
- DO NOT take DOXYCYCLINE with milk. It’s preferable to have a duration gap of 2-3 hours between the two.
- Pregnant women and children < 8 years DO NOT take doxycycline.
The signs and symptoms of leptospirosis can be read on the CDC page.
More about the Indian National Guidelines on treatment for leptospirosis can be read here.
If you think your friends/relatives are in risk, suggest them to do the same. Hopefully, an outbreak might be prevented by this.
Disclaimer: This is not a substitute for medical advice. I am in no way promoting the drug companies. Doxycycline might have adverse effects on children and some subset of people. Doxycycline might not work if you were in later stages of disease incubation and might require medical attention.