The Holiday Season is fast approaching, and it is time to book those tickets for the perfect holiday of the year. Within India, Andaman Islands is one of the most ideal places to break out of the city’s hustle and bustle. The far-flung location in the middle of nowhere, legendary beaches, opaque emerald waters, and world-class dive destination are just a few of the many reasons why Andaman is a perfect holiday destination.
However, not many know that this beautiful island is also host to a fast emerging infectious disease called the Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is now identified as one of the emerging infectious diseases, exemplified by recent large outbreaks in Nicaragua, Brazil, India, Southeast Asia, and the United States. So, if you are planning to go to the Andaman this year, please do take a note of the details of the disease as it may be life-saving.
Also known Autumn Fever, Rice Field Fever and Swamp Fever, Leptospirosis is actually a very common and yet under diagnosed zoonosis (a disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals). In India, cases of this infectious disease have been cited in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, AP, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and the Andamans. Leptospirosis can be a mild to severe life-threatening disease. It becomes life threatening because in certain areas the diagnosis is delayed as the symptoms are similar to other diseases peculiar to the area.
In the Andamans, the strain of Leptospirosis found causes haemorrhagic pneumonia which can be fatal if not diagnosed at the right time.
An Overview of Leptospirosis
- The bacterium causing this disease is called the Leptospiraceae and is found in the urine of rodents, cattle and stray dogs.
- The bacterium survives in wet regions and succumbs to heat.
- This disease is found in tropical regions and affects more men than women.
- It mimics other diseases which come with high fever.
- It is difficult to diagnose.
- If diagnosed within five days, its treatment is effective.
- Farmers, Veterinaries, Butchers, Fishermen, Miners and Soldiers are the most susceptible to this disease.
- However, recreational activities like swimming and sailing can also cause Leptospirosis.
- Any person can get infected if exposed to the contaminated and infected environment.
- There is no human-to-human transmission in case of Leptospirosis.
- One of the misleading symptoms of this disease is the atypical pneumonia syndrome.
- Leptospirosis in the final stages causes any of the following and is fatal:
- Good sanitization is the first step to prevention.
- There is no vaccination available at the moment.
- Those belonging to the High Risk groups can take Doxycycline 200 mg once a week.
- In case you have any symptom of fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, eye irritation, abdominal pain, and are in a tropical region, do get an Elisa/MSat test done at the earliest.
The objective of this article is not to scare people. It is always better to be informed and any information that helps in safeguarding one’s life is always welcome. So, if you are planning a trip to the Andaman, or any other tropical region, please take the precautions, be safe and have the time of your life. Cheers from the team of MyIndia!