Sporadic rain causes rise of dengue cases in Mumbai

  • Priyanka Vora, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Sep 16, 2015 01:25 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)

With the intermittent spells of rain creating ideal conditions for the breeding of mosquitoes, doctors say that there has been a spurt in the number of dengue cases in the city.

In the last two weeks, the number of dengue cases has increased by 52%, according to the municipal epidemiology cell. On Sunday, a 45-year-old man from Lower Parel died of the infection at the municipal-run Kasturba Hospital. He died within a week of admission at the hospital, said civic officials. This is the second dengue-related death reported this year.

Doctors said that the number of people infected with dengue could be higher than what is being recorded. The civic epidemiology cell has recorded 86 cases of dengue this month. Private practitioners said that they are treating eight to ten patients with dengue at any given time. “I have about eight patients admitted under my care. Most patients are responding to treatment,” said Dr Madhukar Garodia, physician from Malad.

Dr Garodia said that patients should avoid self-medication. “Fever is the most common symptom of dengue, malaria and swine flu which are common this season. People should not self-medicate, as it is important to start treatment early in such infections,” said Dr Garodia who is treating several patients from Malad and Goregoan.

Dengue is spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The number of dengue cases is relatively less this year as compared to those of last year, said civic officials. But public health experts said that the current revival in the monsoons will lead to a rise in cases, because outdoor breeding sites of mosquitoes will increase in number.

Dr Om Shrivastav, infectious disease specialist, added that the key to treat patients with dengue is by giving them plenty of fluids to drink.

Officials from the state health department said that the situation is well under control. Between January and September this year, the state has recorded 1,378 cases of dengue as compared to 2,631 cases reported last year during the same period. “Last year, we had several cases of dengue across districts. Thanks to the community awareness, the cases have dropped as well as the deaths,” said Dr Kanchan Jagtap from the state health department. So far, Maharashtra has recorded four deaths as a result of dengue of which two are from Mumbai. Last year, 54 people had died of dengue in the state during the same period.

Don’t believe online tips on treating dengue, said doctors.

Several messages circulating online recommend the use of papaya juice and goat milk to treat dengue patients. But doctors said that patients with fever should avoid self-medication and seek professional help at once. “People should consult their doctors. There is no specific drug to treat dengue. The symptoms of dengue have to be treated to manage the condition. Low platelet count is not the only feature of dengue infection. The risk of developing complications reduces if the patient is kept hydrated with pain relief and bed rest,” said Dr Shrivastav.

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