In the wake of an intense summer, cases of gastroenteritis have peaked in May, this year, with the civic health department recording 920 cases in its dispensaries and hospitals. In March, the gastroenteritis cases stood at 800, which further rose to 848 in April, as temperatures soared.
While no deaths have been reported so far, and most cases are being handled on out-patient department basis, doctors say only chronic cases are requiring hospitalisation.
“We have one patient who suffered low blood pressure after gastroenteritis infection. The creatinine levels were high and there was excessive vomiting and loose motion. The patient required hospital admission,” said general physician Shahid Barmare. He receives at least three gastroenteritis cases, every day, for treatment.
According to doctors, the primary cause of gastroenteritis is water contamination, that is commonly reported during the summer. The excessive heat provides a conducive environment for e-coli bacteria to grow, which leads to inflammation of small intestine, causing gastroenteritis.
Data released by the BMC, after a month-long survey in May, found that out of the 948 samples of ice, collected from hotels, fast food chains and restaurants, e-coli bacteria was present in 92 per cent (870) ice samples. The BMC also collected random ice samples from street food vendors across its 24 wards. Of 476 ice samples collected, e-coli bacteria was present in 126.
The worst-affected areas are Sandhurst Road, Kalbadevi, Grant Road, Matunga, Dadar, Andheri East, Ghatkopar, Mulund and Kandivali West, and all the samples collected from street hawkers and restaurants in these areas had e-coli bacteria present. In other wards, 60 to 90 per cent samples had traces of the bacteria.
“Water contamination and food contamination have been majorly responsible for these diseases spreading,” said Minni Khetarpal, deputy executive health officer at BMC.
Apart from gastroenteritis, the city also recorded significant cases of typhoid in May. From 99 cases reported from BMC-run dispensaries and hospitals in April, the count escalated to 113 in May. The cases of cholera, however, remained low, despite it being a water-borne infection. This year, only two cases were recorded by BMC, both in May.
Meanwhile, there has been a gradual rise in cases of mosquito-transmitted malaria and dengue. From 348 cases in April, malaria cases touched 415 in May and dengue count rose from 21 to 27 from April to May. “We expect further rise after monsoon hits,” Khetarpal said.