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Respiratory Infections Compound Dengue Woes

Several viral infections are making their presence felt among Mumbaikars, besides the killer dengue. City doctors report a surge in respiratory infections, conjunctivitis and skin rashes. What’s more, experts say many patients have reported more than one problem.

For instance, Neelu Gupta (38), a south-Mumbai homemaker, was diagnosed with dengue last week. On Sunday, she also developed a cough which she took to be one of the symptoms of dengue. But it turned out to be a viral respiratory infection. "She was soon breathless. The doctor said she had a lower respiratory chest infection.

She had to be admitted to intensive care," said her husband Neeraj. Doctors claim though there is an onslaught of viral infections, there is more to come in October. Dr Hemant Thacker, who consults at Jaslok and Breach Candy Hospitals said, "We have several patients with cough and cold. Though the fever subsides within a few days, the body ache and low platelet counts persist, thus causing weakness."

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Conjunctivitis or ‘pink eye’ is also rampant. Dr Khusrav Bajan, intensivist at Hinduja Hospital, said patients at the hospital have reported four types of viral infections. "Dengue has been present since the start of the monsoon. But lately, the number of patients suffering from lower respiratory tract infections are increasing. They come with high grade fever and cough that refuses to go for 10 days. Besides, viral gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis along with skin reactions are also common," he said.

While ophthalmologists say conjunctivitis is common in the post-monsoon months, quite a few cases have already been reported before the monsoon is over. But Dr Kavita Rao, cornea and refractive surgeon at Aditya Jyot Hospital, said conjunctivitis cases are a normal feature by the end of September.

Skin rashes are viral infections as well as symptoms of other diseases.

"We have seen dengue patients get redness in the palms, feet and face. There is no itchiness but the rashes remain even after the fever abates," said Dr Bajan. A doctor from the skin department of KEM Hospital said, "We have got patients with boils of various sizes on their arms, face and legs. While patients initially tend to overlook them as mosquito bites, these are actually viral and need to be treated if they persist."

Times of India
26 Sep 2013

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