Hospitals record ‘unusual’ spurt in cases of typhoid
Hospitals in the city recorded a high number of cases of typhoid fever in summer months this year, with experts labelling the situation ‘unusual’ as every year, cases start appearing around August and September, during the monsoon.
The Civil Hospital reported more than 120 hospital admissions due to the life-threatening infection and more received than 300 cases in its outpatient department (OPD) between May 1 and June 30 , according to official data. Last year, the number had crossed 100 only around August while May and June had recorded less than 50 cases, officials said.
Doctors in private hospitals too confirmed that the number of cases has been relatively higher this year in summer months, as compared to previous years. “May-June isn’t the time for typhoid to surface in a high number. Cases usually appear after the rain due to contaminants in food and water. However, this time, most people have been coming in with high fever (between 103 and 104 degree Fahrenheit) for the last two months and culture tests reveal fever due to the bacterium Salmonella Typhi,” said Dr Rajiv Dang, internal medicine specialist at Max Hospital. The hospital admitted at least 17 patients with typhoid in June, and Dang said he attended to at least two to three patients with the disease in the OPD daily.
Dr Satish Koul, senior consultant, internal medicine at Narayana Hospital, said the hospital saw more than eight patients with the disease every day in May and June, while in the same period last year, it saw only about two patients a day. “This year, much before the rain, the hospital saw a much higher number of cases. We have also seen a spike in XDR (extensively drug-resistant) strain cases which have additional drug resistant genes. Earlier, XDR cases have been negligible,” he said.
Doctors said a possible reason behind the rise could be insufficient access to clean water and poor sanitation and hygiene. They said another reason could be the varying temperatures over the last two to three months, which provide a congenial atmosphere for the bacteria to grow. An 2017 National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) study found a correlation between varying temperatures and a spurt in the cases of typhoid fever in the subcontinent.
Meanwhile, with the start of monsoon, doctors advised following basic preventive measures such as hand-washing, avoiding drinking untreated water and opting for cooked food.