“Rat fever” and other diseases have killed at least 14 people after southern India’s worst floods in nearly a century, authorities said.
More than a million people were forced from their homes last month as the rains unleashed devastating flooding and landslides, cutting off villages and forcing dams to be opened.
“We had anticipated leptospirosis (rat fever) due to contaminated water and are taking all measures to distribute preventive drugs in camps,” Kerala health director Sarita R L said.
Leptospirosis, also called Weil’s disease, is transmitted through water containing urine from rodents and other animals.
The disease can cause jaundice, the coughing up of blood, chest pains, swollen joints and a high temperature – which can be treated with antibiotics or in a hospital in more severe cases.
But with so many people displaced, leptospirosis has killed six people and infected more than 100 in Kerala, while other diseases have left eight dead.
Malaria, dengue fever and chicken pox have also been reported, while more than 5,100 people have acute diarrhoea, authorities said.
Aid workers in mid-August warned that stagnant water could prove a breeding ground for such diseases, saying the “scale of the calamity” was “very, very frightening”.
The floodwaters have receded now and fewer than 10,000 people remain in temporary camps but the danger is not over.
At the height of the crisis 1.4m were forced out of their homes into camps.
Monsoon season, from June to September, causes widespread death and destruction across South Asia every year.
However, this year the rains were even heavier than usual, with up to 250% more than average at its height.
Popular tourist destination Kerala was the worst hit state, with the total number of dead in India this year 1,400 across 10 states.
Despite the respite, heavy rainfall is forecast in several areas this week.
In the northeastern state of Nagaland, 11 people have died and 50,000 others are stranded in about 530 villages, with the national highway into the state cut off.
Nagaland’s chief minister, Neiphiu Rio, appealed for donations on Twitter, posting pictures of damage.
In the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, about 720 have died.