Spate of gastro cases in Mumbai: 350 down with typhoid in civic hospitals

Tuesday, 3 June 2014 - 6:45am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The city is under a spell of gastro diseases, especially typhoid, even before monsoon sets in. Doctors said many of the patients need hospitalisation and are not responding to medication. Chairperson of the BMC's health committee Geeta Gawli said civic hospitals have reported 350 cases of typhoid and related cases since January.

"It is an unusual time of the year to get such high numbers of typhoid cases. At present, 10 per cent of patients admitted to our hospital have typhoid," said Dr Pratit Samdhani, consultant physician at Jaslok Hospital. She said most of these patients belong to the 20-40 age group. "This is the working class group and all of them had a history of eating out. The patients are coming with persistent high fever, severe headache and dry cough like bronchitis," she told dna.

Dr Khusrav Bhajan, intensivist at PD Hinduja Hospital said: "Most of these patients have resistant typhoid. They need more than the regular antibiotics required for treatment of typhoid. This has led to their extended stay in hospital."

Apart from typhoid, cases of viral gastroenteritis are also on the rise. Doctors said people are coming with symptoms of watery motions, stomach cramps and weakness. It takes 3-4 days for them to recover completely.

Eating street food and drinking beverages like sherbets are the main reasons for the rising gastroenteritis cases this summer, doctors said. "While checking the history of patients, we found that most of them drank cold drinks like sherbets and fruit juices and ate golas. They also had street food prepared in dirty water. I advise my patients to drink boiled water or mineral water," said Dr Subodh Kedia, family physician from Bandra.

Dr Bhajan concurs. "The gastroenteritis cases are coming with kidney failure due to dehydration and low blood pressure. We are seeing multi-organ failure too and therefore, people should be careful and see a doctor if they have loose motions, giddiness and weakness."

Gawli said it is the duty of corporators to get ward-level health officials to take action against unhygienic street food vendors. Civic activists agree, saying the department does not take adequate action against vendors selling unhygienic food. "There should be regular quality checks of food sold on pavements," said Congress MLA Krishna Hegde.

Dr Sangita Pikale, president of the Association of Medical Consultants, Mumbai, says contaminated water is also responsible for the sudden spate in gastro diseases. "When there is water shortage, demand for tanker water increases. The possibility of contaminated water being supplied through tankers is more and this results in gastro and other water-borne diseases. Also, an infected person can spread the disease through unhygienic practices," she said.

Visit a doc
Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease which is transmitted through ingestion of food or drink contaminated by the faeces or urine of infected people. Symptoms include high fever, malaise, headache, constipation or diarrhoea, rose-coloured spots on the chest. It begins with a fever of over 103 degree Fahrenheit. People should visit a doctor immediately in case of these symptoms

Dos and don'ts
Self / kitchen hygiene helps reduce most of the stomach infection cases

Avoid eating salads, fruit plates (either from a street vendor or in 5-star hotel). Salads and fruit plates are notorious for stomach infection

Avoid drinking water outside. Carry your own drinking water bottle. Boil water and drink. Avoid water-based food products like chutnies, sauces, fruit juices

Avoid roadside coolers like sherbets, milkshakes, golas and especially ice

Resistance to antibiotics
Antibiotics resistance is on rise because of irrational use of antibiotics and people not completing the course. Antibiotic resistance is a resistance of bacteria, such as E Coli, which causes gastroenteritis or urinary tract infections to a drug to which it was originally sensitive. People can help tackle resistance by:

  • • Using antibiotics only when prescribed by a doctor
  • • Completing the full prescription, even if they feel better
  • • Never share antibiotics with others or use leftover prescriptions

Health workers and pharmacists can help tackle resistance by:

  • • Enhancing infection prevention and control
  • • Prescribing and dispensing antibiotics only when they are truly needed
  • • Prescribing and dispensing the right antibiotics

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