Mosquito-borne diseases on rise in Mumbai in August
After heavy downpour in July, mosquito-borne diseases have increased drastically in August compared to the first two weeks of July. Most civic-run and private hospitals are witnessing a surge in dengue and malaria cases.
Every year, on an average, around 5,500 dengue and malaria cases are recorded in the city. The highest number of cases is registered during monsoon between June and August. Last year, due to the national lockdown owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, cases were limited. But with relaxation in Covid-related lockdown restrictions, movement of people has increased along with construction work which led to a surge in mosquito-borne ailments in the city, said experts.
Although the city recorded less rainfall in August compared to June, the number of monsoon-related cases is on a rise. As per data provided by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in the first weeks of July, the city had recorded 230 malaria and eight dengue cases. Till August 15, the number surged to 395 and 61 cases, respectively.
“Monsoon-related illnesses declined sharply last year due to the lockdown and minimal human activity. We are witnessing a 30%-40% increase in dengue, malaria and leptospirosis this year,” said Dr Harshad Limaye, senior consultant, internal medicine and infectious diseases, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital.
Dr Manjusha Agarwal, senior consultant-internal medicine at Global Hospital, Parel who has treated around 100 malaria cases this monsoon, said, “Compared to malaria cases, we are witnessing more dengue cases this monsoon.”
As per medical experts, mosquito-borne diseases increase after heavy rainfall. In the rain, mosquito eggs get washed away, but when the rain subsides, water logged areas become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Cases of other monsoon-related diseases like gastroenteritis, hepatitis and leptospirosis have also increased compared to the last month. Data from BMC shows that till July 15, the city had registered 106, 12 and 15 cases of gastroenteritis, hepatitis and leptospirosis cases, respectively. However, in the same time period in August, cases of gastroenteritis, hepatitis and leptospirosis increased to 159, 20 and 27.
“There has been more than 25% increase in tropical illnesses. We are treating patients with dengue, malaria, chikungunya, seasonal flu and other viral respiratory illnesses. These tropical diseases, parasitic diseases and monsoon-related illnesses look very similar to Covid-19,” said Dr Sanjith Saseedharan, consultant and head of critical care, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim.
Although the monsoon disease trend is not worrisome, overlapping symptoms such as fever, cough and breathlessness create hurdles for accurate diagnosis of dengue, malaria, leptospirosis with that of Covid-19, said Dr Limaye. Hence, all patients have to compulsorily undergo RT-PCR or rapid antigen test to avoid any misdiagnosis.
All the 27 leptospirosis cases this month have been recorded from E (Byculla), F-North (Matunga) and K-East (Andheri East) wards. To control the cases, 4,419 rat holes have been treated.
“It is expected that the monsoon-related ailments would increase due to the rainfall. Thankfully, as the number of cases of Covid-19 is less, we can focus fully on other non-Covid patients. All hospitals have preserved beds for the monsoon patients,” said Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of BYL Nair Hospital.
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