Drought dramatically increases the spread of epidemics, and after H1N1, Kerala has now issued an alert against Hepatitis A. As many as 40 cases of were reported from Kalamassery Municipality in two months, with 21 cases being reported from Ernakulam Medical College alone. 
 

Food Safety Department is conducting raids at eateries across the state, and collected samples of water and food as Hepatitis A usually spreads from contaminated food. "Number of cases reported from Ernakulam Medical College alone counts to 21 and the disease has been reported from other areas as well. It was found that in most cases those who ate from outside on a regular basis caught the disease. The majority of them had food from street food vendors. For instance, nine cases were reported from the hostel of National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), district medical officer N K Kuttappan said. 
 

"We are conducting intensive raids across the state after reports of Hepatitis A outbreak. The food and water samples collected from eateries will be sent for chemical and micrological examination. Some of the hotels were asked to shut down and adopt rectification measures immediately," assistant food safety commissioner K V Shibu said. 
 

The Health Department has already issued alert to students of NUALS and Ernakulam Medical College, and the hostels of both colleges were closed. 
 

The department has also warned public against using contaminated water for cooking or even cleaning utensils. Canteens, hotels and catering units have been told to use only boiled water for drinking. Health cards were made mandatory for those handling food items or cooking. It is also necessary to avoid uncooked food items like ice cream, salads and cool drinks which are being sold in unhygienic condition. 
 

The authorities have also asked people to clean and chlorinate wells and warned against using unchlorinated water. The measures were adopted after incidents of diphtheria were reported from the district. It was confirmed that a migrant labour from Assam had died of diphtheria. Two other cases of suspected diphtheria have also been reported from Kaloor and Aluva.