Even as the monsoon is receding, its related maladies continue unabated. There has been a bigger jump in dengue cases in the first ten days of this month as compared to the same period last month. While 85 cases were reported from September 1-12, 97 cases have been reported from the city from October 1-10. Though civic officials and health experts believe its owing to heavy rainfall, the exact cause is yet to be ascertained.
Dengue is spread by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito that breeds in clean water and is known to bite during daytime. Also called ‘breakbone fever’, dengue afflicts in two phases, which is accompanied by joint pain, severe body ache, rashes, persistent vomiting and nasal bleeding, among other symptoms. There is no direct treatment and most interventions can only alleviate symptoms.
Going by the BMC data, 169 malaria cases were recorded in August, followed by 73 cases of gastroenteritis, 17 of leptospirosis, 15 of chikungunya,13 cases of hepatitis and 17 of H1N1.
BMC executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare said community awareness programmes with information, education and communication (IEC) on the symptoms have been organised across civic wards. Activities like daily disease surveillance, early diagnosis and treatment, implementation of immediate control measures have been undertaken.
Dr Gomare said, “We have instructed all hospitals, dispensaries and health posts to increase blood smear examination for all suspected cases and rule out Covid-19 with rapid antigen tests.” Dr Mala Kaneria, consultant, department of infectious diseases, Jaslok Hospital, said dengue cases have been more this year than last year.
She said in 2020 coronavirus cases had eclipsed all monsoon-related illnesses and had gained attention. The entire health force was busy with Covid management, and it is possible that tackling mosquito menace was put on the backburner. She said this month chikungunya cases have also gone up; chikungunya virus is also transmitted by the Aedes aegypti which is a vector for dengue.
A senior health official said a sudden change in temperature makes the body susceptible to certain diseases. Constant oscillation between hot, humid and wet weather makes it conducive for microorganisms to breed and thrive. “People should visit the doctor immediately, because the symptoms are almost alike for dengue, malaria, leptospirosis, gastroenteritis and chikungunya,” he said.
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