Various contagious diseases spread in Kerala during the rainy season every year, causing deaths too. However, with the arrival of COVID-19, the situation may become worse and there are several reasons to be concerned about.
» As the influx of Keralites from abroad other states continues, there is spurt in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the state. Moreover, as public health workers would be too busy dealing with COVID-19 patients, due attention may not be given to the rain-related diseases.
» As summer rains were intense this year, the conditions are now favourable for the breeding of disease-spreading mosquitoes and multiplication of germs. Water accumulated in the surroundings and humidity are favourable factors. This year, 885 dengue fever cases have been reported in Kerala till May 13, which is thrice last year’s figure. Several deaths too have occurred.
» As their burrows are flooded during the rains, rats come out in droves and soil the surroundings with their excreta and urine. Contact with such polluted water can cause rat fever in humans.
» People tend to disregard personal hygiene during the rainy season. Garbage thrown in open areas is a fertile breeding ground for rats and flies, which spread many diseases.
» Water too could be easily contaminated during rains, which may cause water-borne diseases such as jaundice, typhoid and diarrhoea.
» Immunity levels may also dip during the monsoon as many people might not be consuming nutritious food. Lack of exercise also can lead to this condition.
Diagnosis of rain-related diseases such as viral fever, dengue and rat fever may be delayed as COVID-19 spread continues to be the major concern. This is because the initial symptoms - fever, headache and body ache - of all these diseases are the same. Medical professionals have to identify the real cause before starting treatment. Moreover, as the transmission level of COVID-19 is very high, communal spread can take place if not detected early.