29 July 2011
typhoid begins with a fever of over 103 degree Fahrenheit and severe headache; in worst cases, it can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
“As of Thursday, I have six patients admitted in three south Mumbai hospitals,” said a consultant with Breach Candy Hospital. In Hinduja Hospital, there has been a steady stream of typhoid patients needing ICU care. “Typhoid is endemic to India. But, this June, we have seen more than the usual number of patients,” said Hinduja Hospital’s Dr Khusrav Bajan.
Children have been among the worst affected. A doctor with a civic hospital, who did not want to be identified, said: “If we get a child with 103 or 104 degree fever, we start typhoid treatment.” Thane–based paediatrician Dr Makrand Joshi said, “Typhoid has been the biggest worry this rainy season.”
Typhoid is mainly a water–borne disease and “in this aspect, it could be considered an extension of gastroenteritis,” said Dr Hemant Thacker, who consults at Jaslok and Bhatia hospitals. An affected person normally has a high fever for over a week, severe headache and stomach pain, loss of appetite and a rash.
Dr Thacker felt that India would soon have to adopt the use of typhoid vaccine. “A vaccine gives protection for about three years. It may not protect against all strains of the salmonella typhi bacteria, but it would cut down the incidence by 60% to 70%, which is good,” he explained. Many paediatricians already advise parents to vaccinate their child against typhoid. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics also recommends it.
Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner in charge of health, said: “A few cases of typhoid occur in Mumbai all throughout the year. We haven’t seen any appreciable or worrisome rise in the number of typhoid cases in the city.”