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Times of India
22 June 2010
By Prafulla Marpakwar
Mumbai, India

Is Mumbai Malaria Capital?
The financial and commercial capital seems set to achieve the dubious tag of a malaria capital owing to the huge increase in the number of cases recently.

"It is alarming. Despite the best efforts of the public health department and the BMC, there has been no let up. The city has witnessed a sudden spurt in cases in the past year. We have been able to contain the disease in the rest of Maharashtra, but in Mumbai, the situation appears to be out of control,’’ a senior public health official told TOI on Monday.

Between April 2009 and March 2010, Maharashtra recorded 98,199 cases of malaria and 232 deaths, of which 49% cases were reported from Mumbai alone, followed by 13% from Thane, seven per cent from Gadchiroli, five per cent from Raigad and four per cent from Nashik. "Of the 232 deaths, 198 are from Mumbai. We will have to take more stringent steps,’’ he said.

Surprisingly, the official added, in most cities across the state, there has been a steady decline in malaria cases. "There has been a sharp rise in Mumbai but Nashik, Raigad, Thane and Gadchiroli have witnessed a steady decline in the number of cases,’’ he said.

About swine flu, chikungunya and dengue, the official said that the public health department in cooperation with the civic administration was able to provide medication. "During the last two to three years, Maharashtra had witnessed a large number of cases, but with medication and awareness, we were able to contain the disease,’’ he said.

Last year, there were 575 positive cases of chikungunya and no deaths, while during the same period, 6,694 cases of swine flu were reported from different parts of the state. The maximum number of cases were from Pune. "Between April and May in 2009, 486 positive cases of swine flu were reported while there were 60 deaths during the period,’’ he said.

Not Enough Fogging: Corporators
Even as malaria cases have been rising steadily in the city, corporators are blaming the BMC for not doing enough to curb the disease. Although the number of cases is on the rise, corporators alleged on Monday that the civic body is not carrying out its fogging operations as required.

"Most of the health staff were on census duty, so they didn’t have time for pre-monsoon operations," a coporator said. However, additional municipal commissioner Ashish Kumar Singh said that fumigation took place regularly in the city. Sukhada Tatke

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