Kerala on high alert over rat fever, death toll climbs to 9

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Kozhikode : Kerala was put on high alert for three weeks as two more people succumbed to rat fever on Monday, taking the death toll to nine in the past three days following unprecedented floods.

Seventy-one others were said to be carrying the disease in Kozhikode and Pathanamthitta districts.

The disease transmits from animals to humans and the risk of getting it is high during floods.

Barring Kasargode district, rains and floods had affected all the other 13 districts of the state. Around two million people in the state have come in contact with the flood waters, forcing the government to ask the people to take preventive care.

Addressing reporters here after presiding over a review meeting, Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said Kerala would be on high alert for the next three weeks.

"There is no need to panic... The high incidence is on account of the floods. Despite several advisories, people are not listening and taking preventive medicines as advised," she said.

She said that all the hospitals had been equipped with medicines to the needy.

With Kozhikode reporting the maximum number of cases, an isolation ward has been opened at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.