Mumbai: At least 175 cases of acute respiratory infections (ARIs) have been recorded between November 1 and 7 from nine sentinel surveillance sites established by the state health department, according to official data.
The highest number of cases were reported in Pune (69) when average AQI was 243, followed by Mumbai (27), Vashi (21) and Ulhasnagar (20). Jalgaon, which had the highest AQI (280) during the same period, recorded zero cases of ARI.
A health official said the department is monitoring all surveillance sites, and hospitals have set up separate wards to deal with ARI cases.
Children and elderly are worst affected due to poor air quality
“I am seeing at least 10 [more] patients per day compared with last month complaining of sore throat, cough, cold and breathing problems,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, physician, Bombay Hospital. “The elderly and children are worst affected due to the poor air quality.”
With Diwali just round the corner, the authorities expect a surge in cases of asthma, chronic inflammatory lung disease, allergic rhinitis, and dry coughs triggered by air pollution.
The Free Press Journal was the first to report that the state government had picked JJ Hospital to implement sentinel surveillance for ARIs in 17 of the most polluted cities in the state, including Mumbai. The initiative followed a state directive to government-run hospitals to implement precautionary measures to treat patients in view of the rising air pollution during the festive season.
Independent respiratory disorders cell
The hospital’s newly established independent respiratory disorders cell, jointly managed by the Department of Medicine and Chest-Tuberculosis, will play a pivotal role in addressing the increasing number of respiratory disorder cases.
The average AQI of the 17 cities selected for sentinel surveillance was between 160 and 280 between November 1 and 7.