Mumbai vulnerable to dengue because of intermittent rain, warn doctors

  • Priyanka Vora, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 11, 2015 21:42 IST
The study which found that dengue and chikungunya cases were much higher than officially recorded, also found that awareness level was very low. (Shutterstock)

Mumbai is getting increasingly vulnerable to dengue as a result of the intermittent rain, which has led to an increase in mosquito breeding sites, said doctors. Some of the doctors said they are treating, on an average, five to six cases of dengue, every day.

Compared to July last year, Mumbai has witnessed a marginal rise in dengue cases with 57 cases reported last month as against 52 in July 2014. Public health experts said cases are expected to rise this month because of the “inconsistent” rainfall.

“If it rains continuously, the chances of outdoor breeding sites developing are less (breeding pools are washed away). This year, it is not raining regularly and this is leading to water accumulation — apt for mosquito breeding,” said Rajan Naringrekar, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) chief insecticide officer, adding people should look for breeding sites,especially when there is a dry spell, in and around their homes.

A healthy person contracts dengue infection after a bite by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is infected with the dengue virus. Doctors said a rise in cases automatically leads to a rise in transmission of the virus.

“Fever is taking longer to subside, which could be a result of the variation in the virus. Every year, we are seeing patients with varied symptoms. There is also a change in the intensity of the symptoms,” said Dr Pratit Samdani, physician, Breach Candy Hospital.

Samdani cautioned people against “indiscriminate” platelet transfusion as lung injury because of such a transfusion can be fatal.

The lung injury is caused because of the body’s immunity responding to the transfused platelets.

Samdani is treating 10 patients who are admitted to south Mumbai hospitals with fever and low platelet count.

Doctors said the spread of the virus is not restricted to the adult population. “Children are coming with organs that are affected because of the infection. We are treating a teenager who has liver injury as a result of dengue infection,” said Dr Sameer Sadawarte, paediatrician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, who recently treated an eight-month-old child.

Dr Sadawarte said children tend to deteriorate suddenly and hence require constant monitoring.

“In the case of the infant, he recovered by himself. His platelets improved gradually,” he said.

Santacruz-based Surya Children Hospital is currently treating four children who have been admitted with dengue infection.

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