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Leptospirosis -- Are you at risk?

Waded through dirty flooded waters this monsoon? You could get leptospirosis.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Updated : August 30, 2017 10:44 AM IST

Leptospirosis is a disease that you often come across during the rains and floods. But most people are unaware of the fact that the bacteria which causes leptospirosis is commonly transmitted from animals including dogs and rodents. And when it rains heavily or during floods, there is a chance that the urine of animals infected with the bacteria gets mixed with the water. This puts you at high risk of infection. Hence, if you wonder who is at risk of leptospirosis, then the answer is everyone. However, there are certain factors that further increase the risk. Dr Om Shrivastav, Consultant, Infectious Disease and Immunology, Mumbai sheds light on the risk factors of leptospirosis and how to prevent it. Also read about how to avoid monsoon-related diseases.

According to Dr Shrivastav, Everyone is at risk of leptospirosis but the risk is higher if you live in a situation where rats or rodents thrive. This is because, you can get infected if you come in contact with urine from infected animals or water, soil or food contaminated with the urine of the infected animals. As the bacteria can enter through the skin, the risk increases further if you have cuts, scratches or abrasions. Moreover, drinking water contaminated with the Leptospira bacteria, which causes leptospirosis, can also cause the infection. Person to person transmission of the bacteria is rare.

If you are a farmer, work in the mines or slaughter houses, then the risk of getting affected by the bacteria is high. You might also be at a high risk if you are a vet, animal caretaker or sewage worker. If you participate in outdoor sports like rafting, swimming in contaminated lakes and rivers, then you might be at risk of the infection.

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How to prevent leptospirosis?

Avoid travelling in places of water logging as it can put you at risk of infection. Do not spend time in dirt or mud for long as it also ups the risk. If you feel unwell or are experiencing symptoms of leptospirosis, seek medical attention immediately. It is wise to go to a doctor than self-medicate as it can worsen the condition. If possible try to stay away from outdoor sports, especially during rains. Instead, opt for places that have proper hygiene and sanitation. Here's more on tips to prevent leptospirosis.

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