Rat fever (Leptospirosis) is rapidly spreading in the North Western Province, a health official warns.
According to Dr. Shama Seneratne of the Kurunegala Epidemiology Unit, 55 people have died of the disease, out of the 280 cases reported this year.
She said the deaths were reported mainly from Narammala, Pannala and Mawathagama MoH areas of the Kurunegala district.
The victims were in the age group of between 25-29 years and included farmers, miners and those involved in the clay industry.
Commenting on the disease she said the symptoms included high fever that continued for five to 15 days, severe headache, intense body/muscle pain and jaundice.
She emphasized if the high temperature continued, hospitalization was a must as the disease could be fatal if not treated properly.
“All steps should be taken to get rid of rats in houses, paddy fields and marsh lands. Garbage disposal should be done in a way that it does not encourage rat breeding because the disease can spread to humans through garbage infected by rat urine.
A person exposed to water contaminated by the urine could get infected if he/she has an open wound or drinks the contaminated water,” she warned.