Dengue is on the rise in Mumbai: Time to clean mosquito-breeding sites near you

Updated on Apr 08, 2019 01:00 AM IST

Civic officials say people need to cooperate; experts blame weather

Although the rains are three months away, the city reported 44 cases of dengue in the first three months of 2019, compared to 19 during the corresponding period last year.(HT File)
Although the rains are three months away, the city reported 44 cases of dengue in the first three months of 2019, compared to 19 during the corresponding period last year.(HT File)
Hindustan Times | BySadaguru Pandit, Mumbai

Although the rains are three months away, the city reported 44 cases of dengue in the first three months of 2019, compared to 19 during the corresponding period last year. While the cases of leptospirosis rose to 17, from last year’s five, the city saw 121 cases of swine flu from January to March. No case of swine flu was reported in the first three months of 2018.

According to the public health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the city witnessed 2,108 cases of gastroenteritis and 464 cases of malaria, compared to 2,023 and 657 last year.

While civic officials attributed the rise to the mosquito-breeding sites, unusual in the season, experts blamed the extreme weather conditions.

Doctors said very few patients needed hospitalisation, and most of them were treated in the outpatient department (OPD). “As the monsoon is yet to arrive, dengue breeding takes place in drinking water containers, tiers, construction sites, house plants, etc. While we are holding awareness drives, people need to cooperate and ensure such spots are cleaned regularly,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer, BMC.

“Climatic conditions may be one of the many reasons for the spread of the virus, but patients’ profiles need to be studied thoroughly to find out the exact cause. Only 3% of dengue cases need hospitalisation and maybe 1% are treated in the intensive care units (ICU), so if patients keep an eye on the symptoms and approach doctors for quick diagnosis, we will be able to control the cases,” said Dr Om Srivastava, head of infectious diseases department, Jaslok Hospital.

Adding to the woes of civic officials, approximately 40% health workers, most of them involved in pre-monsoon surveillance programme, have been pulled off duty for election work. “March to June is a crucial period for us to complete pre-monsoon surveillance to minimise the chances of spread of malaria, dengue, chikungunya and leptospirosis. In some areas such as Ghatkopar, 100% of the staff is being trained for elections,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity.

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