Cases of gastroenteritis, known as ‘stomach flu’, have increased by 155 per cent in the city compared to June. There were 40 cases of gastroenteritis in June, which has now increased to 102 in October, as per the data provided by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Civic officials and health experts have attributed this surge to the movement of people after the relaxation of the lockdown. There is a chance that the cases might increase further as roadside stalls and hotels have resumed operations.
Gastroenteritis is a form of stomach flu that typically spreads by contact with an infected person or through contaminated food or water. It leads to diarrhoea, cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever. Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant general physician, Bombay Hospital, said that, since the relaxation of the lockdown, many street food stalls have opened. People have now stopped eating homemade food, following which cases have increased. “Citizens need to be more cautious while eating outside as the pandemic is still very much a part of our lives. Until there has been a steep drop in COVID-19 cases, Mumbaikars should avoid eating outside. It will not only help prevent gastroenteritis, but the chances of contracting COVID-19 as well,” he said.
BMC data also revealed that, last month, 63 cases of leptospirosis were reported, which was only 30 in the month of October in 2019. This is despite less rainfall reported last month. The highest number of cases were reported from five wards—FN (Matunga), GS (Elphinstone), GN (Dadar), PS (Goregaon) and PN ward (Malad).
BMC has advised that people with a history of wading through flood water must consult a doctor for prophylactic treatment of leptospirosis within 72 hours. “All private practitioners are hereby requested to start doxycycline to all fever patients for the monsoon season. Early treatment with doxycycline prevents organ involvement and other complications. It will prevent deaths due to leptospirosis,” said Dr Malagala Gomare, executive health officer, BMC.
“People need to follow all the precautions as the symptoms of malaria mimic the symptoms of COVID-19. See to it that there is no water logging around your house. Wear full-sleeved clothes if you are venturing out of the house to prevent mosquito bites. Use mosquito repellents and mosquito nets in the house to keep mosquitoes at bay,” said Dr Vikrant Shah, epidemiologist.