An 11-year-old boy has died and many have been hospitalized in Kerala’s Kozhikode for an intestinal disease caused by the highly contagious Shigella, despite the state health department said there is no need to panic.
According to the health department, only six people have been infected with shigellosis so far, and 26 other people are suspected of developing the infection. It added that some of the suspects were later released.
The government is doing the following to contain the infection:
1. Kerala’s Minister of Health, KK Shailaja, said that all houses in the affected areas will be inspected.
2. The government has asked people to drink only boiled water and to maintain strict personal hygiene.
3. Water and food samples were collected and sent for detailed laboratory testing.
4. The district health authorities have begun superchlorination of wells in the area and inspection of restaurants, including hotels.
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5. The health department organized a medical camp for the past two days.
6. According to V Jayashree, the district doctor, at least 150 people have visited the medical camp and experts are trying to determine the root cause of the infection.
7. The main symptoms of the infection are diarrhea, which often contains blood or mucus in the stool, stomach pain, cramps, fever and vomiting. An infected person will show minor symptoms for a day or two, but acute symptoms can take about a week to appear. In some cases, people infected with the bacteria show no symptoms but are contagious.
8. According to experts, children under the age of 10 are most susceptible to infection, although older people can also be infected. Patients with underlying diseases might need high doses of antibiotics, they said.
9. Experts have said that usually a person becomes infected after ingesting contaminated water or stale food. It is highly contagious and can be transmitted even after using a shared toilet.
10. You have also asked people not to have sexual relations with someone who has recently recovered from shigellosis.