After the death of a resident doctor attached to the civic-run KEM hospital due to dengue on October 27, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has not only issued a notice to the hospital but has intensified cleaning activities with regular fogging over the last three days.
According to Dr Rajan Naringrekar, insecticide officer at the BMC, the notice was issued under Section 381 B of Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act that holds a person legally responsible for not taking preventive measures to avoid mosquito breeding.
“We found the larvae breeding in debris and scrap material that were being used for construction in the hospital. The hostel’s bathrooms also had breeding sites. All the scrap material has now been shifted to the basement of the hospital to prevent further breeding and continuous fogging is being done,” Naringrekar told Newsline.
On October 27, Dr Shruti Khobragade, a third year resident doctor at the hospital’s anaesthesia department, succumbed to the ailment after a week-long treatment in Hinduja Hospital. Khobragade was the seventh case of dengue death in the city this year.
The first death took place on August 4 following the onset of monsoons.
According to staffers attached with KEM hospital, despite the Swachh Bharat campaign during which the entire hospital was allegedly cleaned by doctors, nurses and staffers, the hospital lacks regular cleaning and hostels have become a host to mosquitoes.
Provisional data from the civic health department confirms that the city has recorded 167 dengue cases in September and 174 additional cases in October. According to data from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Maharashtra has recorded 2,997 dengue cases till September end – the highest in the country so far.
A resident doctor in tertiary-care in Sion hospital said that fogging is rarely done in the hospital premises where over eight resident doctors are already suffering from dengue. “The cleanliness drive is not very aggressive. At least, we have not seen hostels being cleaned to stop mosquito breeding,” the doctor said.
While an administrative officer said that Nair hospital is conducting fogging twice a week in the premises, a nurse attached with the hospital said, “The hospital is short of cleaning staff. The wards are not clean and the toilets encourage mosquito breeding. Fogging is not the only solution.”
Last year, the city recorded 189 dengue cases in October. While the cases are more or less the same this year, experts have claimed that the dengue virus is attacking quicker and patients, now, require longer hospitalization.
“People are developing symptoms early now and instead of getting cured in three-four days, the hospital admission is stretching for over a week,” Dr Om Srivastava, head of infectious disease department at Jaslok hospital, said.
According to Dr Mangala Gomare, dengue cases see a spike generally after September due to favourable weather conditions.
Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner at BMC, said, “We have increased the radio and TV advertisements on mosquito breeding. The civic officials are also visiting societies to spread awareness on methods of preventing mosquito breeding.”
The civic body has issued 740 notices to various residents for mosquito breeding and a fine of Rs 19.6 lakh has already been collected in October.
While dengue cases are steadily increasing, the cases of fever have witnessed a sudden jump. From 9,786 fever cases reported by public hospitals and clinics, provisional data of October shows 10,490 cases of fever in the city.