Mumbai has witnessed nearly a threefold rise in typhoid patients last month, compared to September last year, as per civic records.
Last month, 167 patients were treated for typhoid as against 65 in September last year.
“Although typhoid is common throughout the year, such an increase is unusual,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, director of infectious disease department at Jaslok Hospital, Peddar Road.
“A combination of factors can lead to the infection. Consuming uncovered food and contaminated water are common reasons. However, people are unaware that stale oil or meat can also harbour different strains of typhoid bacteria,” he said.
Doctors define typhoid fever as a bacterial disease transmitted through the intake of food or drinks contaminated with the faeces or urine of infected people.
Dr Shahid Barmare, physician, Kohinoor Hospital, Kurla, said he has been treating three to four patients with typhoid every week.
“Though typhoid is common round the year, there is a spike in cases when the monsoon recedes. Also, consumption of drinks with ice increases as the heat sets in, which could be a reason for more people getting infected,” said Dr Barmare.
“Frozen items, such as ice creams, harbour typhoid bacteria.”
Experts on public health also point out that not many take the anti-typhoid vaccine, which can reduce the risk of the infection by 70% and is effective up to three years.
“I have treated around 15 to 20 cases of typhoid in September. If not treated, the typhoid bacteria can spread to others organs too, leading to brain infection or kidney failure,” said Dr Pratit Samdani, physician, Breach Candy Hospital.
An estimated 10% to 16 % people who are left untreated die of the disease, while only 1% who receive treatment succumb to it.
Meanwhile, doctors continue to treat patients with mosquitoborne infections such as dengue and malaria. More than 900 patients in the city have been treated for malaria, while 168 people have been treated for dengue in September this year.
“We have seen a marginal dip in dengue patients but still have a few patients admitted. However, compared to last year, there has been a definite spurt in dengue cases this year,” said Dr Samdani.