With the onset of monsoon there has been a rise in cases pertaining to water borne diseases in the metropolis. So far ten cases of Leptospirosis have been diagnosed in the civic and private hospitals. Few days back a 41 year old Wadala resident had become the first victim of this disease. This is also the first Leptospirosis death of the year.
Dr. Vikrant Shah, a physician from Joy Hospital said, “This disease spreads through monsoon water which gets contaminated due to excreta of rodents. People who work near those places where water gets accumulated must take precaution as they might get infected.”
Dr. Debraj Shome, Consulting Surgeon from Saifee Hospital provided more information about this disease and the precaution which needs to be taken. He said, “Leptospirosis has been a recurring problem in the city. It will cause fever and many more complex disorders affecting the patient’s face, eyes, eyelids and orbit can also occur. It is better to be safe rather than sorry. You must always boil water before drinking and avoid street food, during the rains. Cleaning your hands before having meals is necessary but people seldom follow it.”
Geeta Gawli, Chairman of BMC Health Committee spoke to AV and said, “We will create awareness about Leptospirosis through advertisements on television, newspaper and other medium. There is a need to explain people about the reason behind the spread of this disease and precautions to be followed.”
“People should take precaution while walking on water accumulated on streets. They should not walk barefoot on accumulated water as they might get infected. Pedestrians should wear comfortable footwear during the rainy season,” said Geeta Gawli.
Doctors believe that early diagnosis can prevent the disease from causing serious damage to patients. Heavier the rains greater are the possibilities of people contracting the disease.
Dr Jacob Thomas said, “Wash your feet and dry after you return home. A new dreaded infection Leptospirosis has started. It occurs when people walk on dirty rain water. The Leptospira enters through the skin of feet and damages liver, kidney and blood. If not treated, it may prove fatal. Three patients are on the ventilator under my supervision alone with Leptospirosis. People should avoid walking on stagnant water as it is contaminated with rat and dog’s urine which has Leptospira.”
Dr. Seetaram Mishra from Kandivali said, “If the rainwater does not accumulate, problem doesn’t arise. Wading through streets filled with water can cause infection.”
“If a person has been exposed to flood waters and if they are suspected to be infected from Leptospirosis, early consultation is strongly advised,” added Mishra.
The civic body is also appealing to citizens to take preventive measures to avoid Leptospirosis.
BMC health officer, Dr. Ketkar said, “I would like to appeal to people to refrain from walking on water logged streets unless it is necessary. If anyone suffers from Leptospirosis, they should visit BMC Hospitals in the city.”
Talking about the symptoms of Leptospirosis, Dr. Ketkar said, “The symptoms of Leptospirosis resemble those of dengue, typhoid fever, and viral hepatitis. These similarities often complicate the initial diagnosis.”
According to doctors, patients may become sick and show symptoms of fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhoea. They get temporary relief and fall ill again.”
The illness lasts for few days to three weeks or longer. Without treatment, recovery may take several months.
On the condition of anonymity, a doctor said so far 28 deaths have occurred across Maharashtra. But since the BMC has not issued any guidelines, there is lack of awareness about this disease.
According to Dr Vineet Kumar people must follow these steps to prevent the outbreak of Leptospirosis.
- 1) Prevent exposure to contaminated water during rainy season.
- 2) Reduce contamination by rodent control by using sanitation measures, trappings and rodenticides.
- 3) Proper disposal of waste and better drainage to prevent clogging of water.
- 4) Protection of workers exposed to rodents and contaminated water in rains.
- 5) Using TETRACYCLINE in persons suspected to be exposed to the infection. Citizens should prevent clogging of water, poor sanitation, prevent breeding of rodents.