Five of the 20 pregnant women, who died in May in various city hospitals, suffered from jaundice.
While civic officials said that monsoon brings along a rise in the number of cases of food and water-borne hepatitis, which leads to jaundice, the increasing number of deaths of pregnant women owing to hepatitis was a cause for concern.
“Among the five pregnant women who died after contracting hepatitis, three died of hepatitis E — spread mainly through contamination of water or food,” said Dr Asha Advani, special officer, family welfare department of the Brinhanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The female jaundice ward of Kasturba Hospital, the city’s sole infectious disease hospital run by the BMC, currently has eight pregnant women suffering from hepatitis. “With the onset of monsoon, we are worried if the number of hepatitis cases will increase further,” said Dr Advani.
Doctors from the Kasturba Hospital said that the hospital has no gynaecologist on duty at night to conduct deliveries of pregnant women admitted with infectious diseases. Dr Umesh Aigal, the hospital’s chief medical superintendent said the hospital would look into it.
“In pregnant women, with their decreased immunity, hepatitis E can be fatal for both the mother and child,” said Dr Pratit Samdani, physician, Jaslok Hospital.
Doctors across the city have notice a spurt in the number of patients suffering from jaundice. “We have seen at least eight to ten cases of hepatitis A and E in the last three weeks compared to none before that,” said Dr Samdani. Patients are showing up at doctors’ clinics with symptoms such as nausea, high fever, vomiting and yellow discolouration of eyes and urine and loss of appetite.
Doctors have advised maintaining hygiene to avoid the infection. “The cases are on the rise mainly due to the consumption of contaminated food and water. I have been seeing at least five to ten cases per week,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, infectious disease consultant, Sir Harkishandas Hospital.
All eatables should be consumed after proper cooking and drinking water should be purified either by boiling or other means, said doctors. “It is also necessary to take appropriate medication and rest,” added Dr Shrivastav.