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Monsoon related diseases spurts Mumbai city

Public health officials of the municipal corporation have advised city doctors to maintain a high level of alertness when dealing with patients with fever, as there has been a sudden increase in the number of monsoon related diseases.

Municipal sources said that patients have been coming to the hospitals with complaints of leptospirosis, gastrorenteritis, enteric fever and even pneumonia and they are being admitted in the specially created wards. “Our aim is to take each and every case seriously so that the diagnosis is not missed and the patient can get proper treatment,” an official said.

According to Dr Minni Khetrapal, municipal deputy executive health officer, the cases that are now being seen are mainly leptospirosis, and gastroenteritis. “Since there is a huge amount of stray animals in the city, there is a chance of people getting leptospirosis during the monsoon season,” she said. However, it would be a good idea for people to always wash their hands and feet if they have walked through any water logged area during heavy rains. It is a fact that maintaining personal hygiene will go a long way in preventing many of the diseases and will reduce the load on the healthcare system.

The official further said that the municipal corporation has initiated a major drive against unauthorized vendors who normally sell snacks and tea on the streets. This appears to be reason why there is less of food borne infections and this drive will continue in the future, she added.

Commenting on this subject, Dr Shantanu Chavan, senior pathologist, said that there is a serious problem of people getting sick after eating sandwiches and other snacks from the roadside vendors. “There is just no awareness among these vendors that they should maintain personal hygiene when they selling the food items to the public, and this results in spread of infections,” he pointed out. There must be a concerted drive by the civic administration to ensure that such vendors are not allowed on the streets.

Therefore, it becomes important in this scenario to maintain a high index of suspicion for the doctors when they are seeing cases of fever in their clinic. “It is important for the family physicians to check each and every case of fever, and carry out the necessary diagnostic tests to see whether it is a case of malaria , dengue or even leptospirosis. “From the public health standpoint, we are doing our best to see that there is no death, though there will be some cases of monsoon related illnesses in the city,” Dr Khetrapal said.

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) health department, 10,922 people were diagnosed with various ailments related to monsoons in July this year.

The city continues to grapple with vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, swine flu and leptospirosis with new cases being reported every day.

As per the statistics shared by the health department of the civic body, there are 7,900 patients of flu and viral infection, followed by 1,755 patients of gastro in the city. 748 cases of malaria have been reported so far and 184 patients have tested positive for swine flu. Communicable diseases like typhoid and hepatitis too are on the rise with over 100 cases reported of each disease.

BMC’s executive health officer, Dr Padmaja Keskar told a leading daily, “Diseases are spreading fast this monsoon. We are carrying out massive awareness campaigns and workshops across all affected regions in the city.”

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