Mumbai: The city has witnessed a 32 per cent rise in cases of leptospirosis in the last five years, according to the data provided by the health department of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Health experts have blamed the October rains for the spike in cases.
Senior health officials said they have requested private practitioners to put all fever patients on a course of doxycycline during monsoon itself, as early treatment with the drug prevents organ involvement and other complications, and curbs deaths due to leptospirosis. "The BMC needs to take this issue seriously as the cases are increasing every year. Most of the patients are admitted to the intensive care unit of civic-run hospitals," said a senior health official.
In 2015, Mumbai recorded 176 cases of leptospirosis, out of which 19 people had died. The number of cases went up to 267 in 2016, but it came down slightly in 2017 and 2018. This year, nearly 233 leptospirosis cases have been reported till October and there have 11 deaths in the city. In October alone, there have been 29 cases and one death. The death is the first in the last five years in the month of October.
Dr Vikrant Shah, an expert on infectious diseases, said: "The increase in the number of cases could be because of non-seasonal rains. I would request residents to avoid waterlogged areas or take doxycycline if you are forced be in such places."
Om Shrivastava, another expert on infectious diseases, said that the sudden change in temperature makes the body vulnerable to certain diseases. "People need to see a doctor immediately, as the symptoms of leptospirosis are quite similar to those of dengue, malaria, and chikungunya. Patients should take medication as prescribed by the doctor and not attempt any home remedies," he added.
Year Cases Death
2015 176 19
2016 267 09
2017 239 07
2018 218 12
2019 233 11 (Jan-Oct)