Even though the city has got some respite from Covid-19, other monsoon maladies continue to plague the city. There has been a surge in malaria and dengue cases in August. Civic officials and health experts have attributed this to the heavy rainfall and relaxation of Covid norms. Also, opening of restaurants, malls has led to the spread of the ailments. However, the civic body is trying to ascertain the exact cause for the increase in cases.
While there were 230 malaria cases in the first two weeks of July, the numbers increased to 395 by August 15. There has also been a five-fold rise in dengue cases. To curb the cases from increasing further, the civic body has issued an advisory to citizens, urging them not to eat food from hotels and street.
According to BMC data, eight Dengue cases were reported in the first two weeks of July, which increased to 61 by August 15. Also, 27 leptospirosis cases, 159 gastroenteritis and 20 hepatitis cases were reported during the same period, Most of these cases were reported from E, F-north and K-east wards.
Executive health official, Dr. Mangala Gomare said community awareness, along with information, education and communication on the symptoms, was organised across civic wards. Moreover, activities like daily disease surveillance, early diagnosis and treatment and implementation of immediate control measures were implemented. “We have instructed all hospitals, dispensaries and health centres to increase blood-smear examination. They have also been asked to conduct rapid antigen tests in high-risk areas to rule out possibilities of Covid-19 and administer radical treatment to those found positive,” said Dr. Gomare.
A senior doctor from a civic-run hospital said, “In my opinion, Covid is mostly coincidental. Also, malaria is caused by a parasite that attacks blood cells, whereas Covid is a viral infection and affects respiratory and endothelial cells. They really have no scientific reason for their co-existence.”
Additional municipal commissioner, Suresh Kakani said since the outbreak of the virus, they have been on their toes to curb other illnesses. They have been taking preventive steps and have created awareness among citizens about water-borne diseases.
“Though we began the preparation for water-borne diseases late, we can keep it under control. All efforts taken by the health and insecticide department has yielded good results. We also carried our sanitation and fumigation work,” he said.
Senior consultant at Internal Medicine, Dr. Rahul Tambe said there has been a spike in monsoon ailments, especially malaria. Although these cases are a cyclic phenomenon, malaria shares some of the highly recognizable symptoms with Covid 19 such as fever, headache, breathlessness etc.
“The definitive way is to correctly identify the underlying infection, hence it is important that proper diagnosis is done for Covid 19 patients as well as a malaria patient immediately upon arrival. People are advised to take all precautions and report symptoms as soon as they occur and not delay treatment,” he said.
A senior health official said the sudden change in temperature makes the body vulnerable to certain diseases. Constant oscillation between hot, humid and wet weather makes it conducive for micro-organisms to reproduce and thrive. “People need to see a doctor immediately, as the symptoms are quite similar to those of dengue, malaria, leptospirosis, gastroenteritis and chikungunya. They should take medication as prescribed by the doctor and not attempt any home remedies,” he added.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)