Monsoon-related ailments rise by 50% in Mumbai: Doctors
Monsoon-related ailments have increased by 50% in the city, said doctors who have warned citizens against self-medication as it can delay diagnosis among patients with Covid-19 infection.
Due to change in the season, city doctors have witnessed a spurt in the number of cases related to humid weather and waterborne diseases.
“They [cases] definitely have increased. Among current hospital admissions of fever cases, about 60-70% are monsoon-related fevers,” said Dr Anita Mathew, infectious disease specialist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.
Similarly, Dr Amit Nabar, head of the emergency medicine and head of surgical intensive care unit (ICU) at SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, said the hospital has recorded almost 60% rise in ailments especially for malaria and dengue.
As per doctors, compared to July last year, the number of monsoon-related ailments has increased this year due to relaxations in lockdown-related restrictions, resulting in free movement of people after the flattening of the pandemic curve in the second wave.
“We did not treat many patients with monsoon-related ailments last year because citizens were confined to their houses due to the national lockdown, and construction activity was also low. This year, mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue, chikungunya and malaria cases have increased in the past few weeks, mainly because movement of people has also increased. Normal seasonal flu and gastroenteritis cases have also gone up,” said Dr Shalini Suralkar, consultant physician at LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai.
Till July 18, 240 cases of malaria, 17 cases of leptospirosis, 10 and 13 swine flu cases have been reported in the city, as per the data provided by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Virologists said the number of mosquito-borne diseases will increase further after the rain slows down.
“It is known that during downpour, the eggs of the mosquitos get washed away. So the number of mosquitoes-borne diseases always remains low during heavy rainfall. But as soon as the rainfall subsides, the population of mosquitoes increases, giving rise to cases of malaria and dengue,” said Dr T Jacob John, virologist and retired professor at the Christian Medical College, Vellore.
Wockhardt Hospital at Mumbai Central has already recorded two cases of leptospirosis – a bacterial disease that causes serious illness, leading to jaundice-reduced platelets, multi-organ failure and death.
“Due to heavy rains in Mumbai over the next four-five days, we are going to have more cases of leptospirosis. The infection occurs due to flooding and waterlogging during monsoon, which we are witnessing now,” said Dr Behram Pardiwala, internal medicine at the hospital.
Treatment dilemma amid pandemic
Covid-19 shares similar symptoms with seasonal infections which often cause treatment dilemmas among doctors.
“It is difficult to identify Covid-19 and non-Covid illnesses at times as the symptoms overlap each other. But with a proper case history and correlation with laboratory parameters and clinical examination, we can differentiate between the two illnesses,” said Dr Harish Chafle, consultant intensivist and chest physician at Global Hospitals, Parel.
To overrule any possibility of misdiagnosis, all hospitals are conducting reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests among patients with similar symptoms such as fever, cough and respiratory tract infections.
“A Covid-19 workup, including RT-PCR, is done for every patient coming with acute febrile illness, and the coronavirus isolation protocol is advised to all until the final diagnosis is made. Special focus has to be paid on the locality from where the patient comes from,” said Dr Nabar.
However, amid the pandemic, doctors have strictly prohibited people from self-medication.
“It is advisable for a patient to seek medical help if the fever does not subside within two-three days. Also, look for red flag signs such as very high temperature more than 103°F, rash, delirium, severe headache, breathlessness, any bleeding, yellowness of eyes or urine or any other unusual symptoms,” said Dr Suralkar.