Rains or no rains, the scourge of leptospirosis is here.
Rains or no rains, the scourge of leptospirosis is here.Twelve patients have died of the rain-related disease in the city in the first week of July. Worse still, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) health department has recorded 21 cases in the last seven days. Since January this year, 26 cases have been recorded.Of the 12, seven died within 24 hours of admission to hospitals. Of the 12, ten were men and two women. “Of the 12, eight had waded through flood waters,” said Sanjay Deshmukh, additional commissioner (health), BMC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The civic body said that the rising cases were a result of the flooding between June 18 and 19. “The bacteria has an incubation period of between 7- 21 days in the human body. It usually starts manifesting symptoms in 5-6 days but may stay latent for a longer time in some cases,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, BMC’s executive health officer.Transmission occurs through the Leptospirae bacteria – from animals to humans. “When an infected dog’s or rat’s urine mixes with water and the human skin comes into contact with the water, leptospirosis spreads in a population,” said Keskar.Of the 12 deaths, 11 occurred in Kandivali, Malad Malwani, Dahisar and Borivali. A 21-year-old youth from the Saat Rasta area of Dhobhi Ghat in the Mahalaxmi area also died of lepto on July 5. A 12-year-old girl is the lone child victim.With possible heavy spells of rains later in July, doctors warn citizens against wading through flood waters. Lepto leads to headaches, muscle pains, fever and severe bleeding from lungs. Apart from high fever and body aches, patients develop swelling in the liver and a drastic drop in blood platelets.”The bacteria can seep through microscopic pores in the skin. A visible injury in the feet is not required,” said Dr Amol Manerkar, consulting physician at Kohinoor Hospital in Kurla.”Initial symptoms include highly coloured urine, fever and muscle ache, which exacerbates into jaundice, drop in platelets and later a possible kidney failure,” said Dr Pratit Samdani, physician at Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo.”Most patients with such symptoms came late to BMC-run hospitals. The key is early diagnosis and treatment – within 3-5 days after the onset of symptoms. A simple blood test and medication can cure lepto, provided it is diagnosed early,” said Dr Keskar.The BMC’s insecticide control department said that they have undertaken rodent control activities on a massive scale. “The poison baiting in rat burrows occurs in three stages. Thousands of burrows in various wards are sealed by local insecticide control staff. The live burrows, the ones with rats inhabiting, are then sprinkled with zinc phosphide tablets mixed in atta, spices, chillies, garlic and coriander to make them palatable to rodents. The burrows are sprinkled with tablets for three consecutive days, after which they are sealed again. Instructions have been issued to all ward officers to treat burrows in flood-prone areas,” said Rajan Naringerekar, BMC’s insecticide control officer. Cases Deaths2010 135 182011 141 62012 327 32013 233 32014 79 42015 26 12