Mumbai: The monsoon is yet to make an appearance in the city but already, there has been a rise in the number of cases of waterborne diseases such as dengue and malaria. The public health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has swung into action, deciding to focus on construction and metro sites. Reportedly, almost 840 cases with symptoms similar to dengue have been registered in different hospitals across Mumbai, of which 55 cases are confirmed to be of dengue. Most breeding sites were found in South Bombay, where there were 6,000 cases of dengue and malaria last year. Health officials say they will focus on areas in Parel, Lower Parel, Elphinstone, Byculla, Mazgaon, Mantralaya and other places in eastern and western suburbs which are a hotbed of construction activity and hence, there are a large number of mosquito-breeding spots.
“Since the population in these areas is high and many commercial buildings are located in these areas, we will especially focus on these places,” said Dr Santosh Revankar, joint executive health officer of BMC health department. Dr Revankar said doctors and officials of civic-run hospitals have begun to take precautionary measures on their premises. They have also directed the insecticide officer to set up a team to visit societies across the city to identify mosquito-breeding sites. “The civic body will also appoint dengue control officers to monitor and identify breeding spots of the Aedes mosquito which causes dengue” he added.
A 24-hour cell to monitor cases will be set up and all civic-run hospitals will have to provide it with information about every dengue patient. In turn, the cell will forward the data to pesticide officers, who will then survey the patient’s housing society and neighbourhood to locate breeding spots. “The authorities have warned of strict action against those societies where breeding spots are detected, despite repeated warnings. Civic bosses have also cautioned pest control officials of every ward that they will face stern action should cases of dengue be found increasing in their wards,” said a health official. Health experts have attributed the existing climatic conditions as one of the many reasons for the spread of the virus, but patients’ profiles need to be studied thoroughly to determine the exact cause. “Only three per cent of dengue cases need hospitalisation and maybe one per cent of cases are treated in the intensive care unit (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 the infectious diseases department, Jaslok Hospital.