Cholera, a life–threatening but easily preventable and treatable disease, is making its presence felt in the city this monsoon. Doctors acknowledge that the infection has been unusually severe this year, with over 34 cases reported in the two months since the showers began.
Doctors at the state–run JJ Hospital have reported cases of children going into shock due to dehydration. In two months, the hospital has treated around 10 confirmed cholera patients while several others showed symptoms but tested negative in the hanging drop test.
Dr Ashok Rathod, professor and head of the paediatric department, confirmed that cholera has been rather serious this monsoon. "We had admitted a lot of cases of acute gastroenteritis, out of which around six have tested positive for cholera. They are coming in with watery diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramp in the legs," he said. He added that most of the cases have been from areas like Reay road, Mazgaon, Nagpada and a few from Mankhurd, but there has been no casualty yet.
Cholera is caused by the bacteria vibrio cholera, which releases a toxin that attacks the intestine and dehydrates the body. If not arrested quickly, it can prove fatal. On Wednesday, Rosina Khan (30), a resident of Wadala, lost her baby in the womb after she contracted cholera. She got severely dehydrated, which killed her 28–weeks–old baby in the womb.
A senior doctor from KEM Hospital said cholera leads to draining of fluids and electrolytes containing sodium, potassium, zinc, etc. "Citizens should be made aware that a patient can be saved if he/she is hydrated enough so that the lost fluids are replenished adequately," the doctor said.
Times of India
27 July 2013, Mumbai, India.