At a time when the doctors in the city are still busy fighting the new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has reported more than 1,000 malaria cases in the first six months of this year. During the start of the monsoon, the public was skeptical about the precautionary measures taken by the civic body amidst the pandemic to stop seasonal diseases.
According to the monsoon ailments data provided by the public health department, 1,510 malaria cases have been reported in the city between January to June 13. However, in 2020, there were 5,007 malaria cases.
Doctors believe that the numbers are still low as the citizens have taken all necessary precautions during the ongoing pandemic. Else, it would have further delayed diagnosis due to the similar symptoms displayed between COVID-19 and seasonal infections. However, the civic body is investigating the matter to know the exact reason for the increase in cases.
Dr Magala Gomare, executive health official, BMC, said several factors brought such cases under control since the pandemic started. Moreover, the people were aware of the water-borne diseases due to which they took necessary precautions. “The insecticide department of the BMC has done great work during the pandemic. Another aspect was that people were maintaining cleanliness at their home and surroundings,” she said.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC, said that since the virus outbreak, they have been on their toes to curb other illnesses, which have always taken a toll on Mumbaikars’ health. They have been taking preventive measures and have created awareness amongst the citizens about water-borne diseases and have asked them to take extra precautions.
“Though we had started the preparation for water-borne diseases late, we can keep it under control. All efforts taken by the health and insecticide department have yielded good results. On a larger scale, we carried our sanitation and fumigation work. We also oiled the stagnant water to destroy the breeding ground of the mosquitoes,” he said.
A senior doctor from the civic-run hospital said, “In my opinion, COVID-19 is mostly coincidental. Also, malaria is caused by a parasite that attacks blood cells, whereas COVID-19 is a viral infection and affects respiratory and endothelial cells. They have no scientific reason for co-existence.”