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Waterborne disease kills 25 in Mumbai

Over 200 others have been hospitalised with suspected leptospirosis.
PTI | By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 11, 2005 05:15 PM IST

Twenty-five people have died in Mumbai in the last 24 hours and over 200 others have been hospitalised following the outbreak of waterborne diseases in the city. According to another estimate 46 people have died from the disease in the past four days.

Health officials suspect the outbreak of leptospirosis caused by the waterlogging following the unprecedented torrential rains, turning the city into a breeding ground for waterborne diseases.

Anyone with symptoms of fever, vomitting, headache and diarrhoea is being taken to hospitals and even doctors are advising caution. Authorities fear that the situation may worsen.

Facts about Leptospirosis
 

How it is caused: Caused by the bacteria leptospira interrogans.

 
 

Mode of transmission: To humans through the urine of rodents.

 
  Treatment: The antibiotic Doxycycline after there are visible symptoms of fever, vomitting and body ache.  
  Diagnosis: The clinical symptoms include prolonged fever, jaundice, severe muscle ache, redness of eyes.  
  Diagnostic tests: A blood test helps. Special tests include the MSAT or Macroscopic Slide Agglutination Test.  
Is leptospirosis preventable?
  Doctors say it's preventable.



Personal hygiene and sanitation is important.



Exposed wounds should be washed with antiseptic.



Wading in muddy water should be avoided.

 

"We suspect that many deaths were due to leptospirosis," said Johnny Joseph, Bombay's civic commissioner. Leptospirosis is an infection caused by water contamination.

Dozens of patients admitted to hospitals in Mumbai have shown symptoms of leptospirosis including high fever, body ache and vomiting, Joseph said.

The deaths mainly occurred in Mumbai's northeastern suburbs where flood water, mixed with sewage water, entered low-lying shanties. Civic officials said deaths also occurred due to malaria, diarrhea and typhoid.

The floods, triggered by record monsoon rains which began on July 26, killed more than 1,000 people in Maharashtra and Gujarat, of which more than 400 deaths were in Mumbai.

Some 200 people complaining of fever and vomiting have been admitted to hospitals in 14 areas across Mumbai and surrounding suburbs, sparking fears of an epidemic.

"It's not an epidemic and we're taking precautions to stop further spread of diseases," said additional civic commissioner V Patankar.

Bombay residents took to the streets last month demanding authorities clear piles of garbage from the roads and remove animal carcasses which blocked drains after the floods.

"We kept asking them (officials) to clean up but no one listened," said Sabina Ahmed, a slum resident in Mumbai's northern Bandra neighbourhood. "Now look what's happening, people are dying again."

Ahmed said two neighbuors died in hospital on Wednesday. "If we were given medicines on time this would never have happened," she said.

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