Seventy people have died and over 6,000 others infected with rat fever in Sri Lanka so far this year, local media reported on Friday, quoting the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry.
According to the official statistics, 6,096 patients were infected with rat fever as at September, while the highest number of patients were reported from Ratnapura in south-central Sri Lanka.
According to the Epidemiology Unit, an increase in the number of patients was reported in January, February and May.
In Ratnapura, more than 1,300 patients were reported while in Kalutara, on the outskirts of Colombo, over 200 patients were reported.
The southern town of Galle also reported over 200 patients.
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In 2019, a total of 6,021 rat fever patients were reported across the country and the most vulnerable were farmers, drain workers, canal cleaners, and persons who swam and played in contaminated water.
According to medical officers, the symptoms for rat fever include fever, chills, conjunctival suffusion, muscle tenderness, headache, and a decrease in passing urine.
Those suffering from these symptoms should seek medical treatment immediately, the Epidemiology Unit said.