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Times of India
29 July 2011
By, Malathy Iyer
Mumbai, India

Gastroenteritis & Hepatitis Now Major Worries
It’s not mosquitoes but contaminated water that seems to be driving Mumbaikars to doctors this monsoon. The city has registered one of the highest incidence of gastroenteritis, a worrying fact that

has been worsened by a spurt in hepatitis virus–caused jaundice in the city. In the May–June period, 10 patients succumbed to jaundice–related complications; six of them were pregnant women.

“Gastroenteritis has been the worst disease this monsoon, with many patients coming in with kidney failure and lung injury. It has been the reason for the bulk of ICU admissions,” said Hinduja Hospital intensivist Dr Khusrav Bajan. He ruled out antibiotic resistance as the reason for the surge; instead, he said, it is possibly because of mutation in microorganisms causing gastroenteritis. On Thursday, the civic body’s daily health statistics showed that over 50 new patients with gastroenteritis were admitted to various civic hospitals, taking the total of these inpatients to 179.

The other water–borne disease that has been worrying city doctors is jaundice caused by the hepatitis family of viruses. The National Liver Foundation, on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, started a task force to combat the virus’ severity in women and children, said hepatologist Dr Samir Shah. “Our aim is to ensure that every pregnant woman is tested for Hepatitis B virus in the initial stages of pregnancy. It’s important to ensure that her child gets the Hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth,” added Shah.

The foundation conducted a survey and found that while most private hospital follow this protocol, the public sector only does so in half of the cases. “However, most Mumbai families prefer the nursing home sector which doesn’t test the pregnant mother or ensure that the child gets a vaccine immediately after birth,” said Shah

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