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Times of India
30 June 2011
By, Sumitra Deb Roy
Mumbai, India

Monsoon Ailments Have Doctors Worried
The rains have brought along with them the usual threats of viral infections. Doctors say fever and enteric diseases are causing concern among health specialists.

Every day, over 200 people visit the out-patient department of civic hospitals complaining of fever and stomach ailments. Over the last 30 days, close to 1,000 people have been hospitalized for gastroenteritis and over 250 for jaundice. “But the gastroenteritis numbers are not as high as last year,” said Dr Daksha Shah, head, epidemiology cell, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Still, the disease has claimed two lives in June.

Dr Alan Soares, general physician, Holy Family Hospital, Andheri, said: “Stomach ailments account for 30% of hospitalizations this year. Patients suffering from ailments like gastroenteritis get dehydrated fast and so require hospital care.”

Among children, diarrhoea and lower respiratory tract infections like pneumonia are playing havoc. A professor from the civic-run Sion Hospital said sporadic cases have been reported and there is no sign of any epidemic. “At the community level, there is lot of awareness about oral rehydration therapy. So, patients who are at risk of dehydration are well managed at home.”

Dr Shah said cases of malaria are fewer than last year. Nevertheless, the disease has not lost its killer bite, claiming seven lives this month. On Tuesday, a 54-year-old Prabhadevi resident, who incidentally had a history of alcoholism, succumbed to malaria.

Overall, 2,200 people have tested positive for malaria this month, compared to 4,500 in May. “The slide positivity rate has been hovering at 2-3% this year, compared to over 5% in 2010, hinting at a decline in the parasite load in the community,” said a doctor. BMC lab technicians check close to 4,000 slides of blood samples every day to look for malaria cases.

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