Doctor living in Mumbai’s J J hospital quarters succumbs to suspected dengue

The incident has drawn attention yet again towards the rampant indoor breeding of mosquitoes on the hospital premises every year.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Updated: September 22, 2016 4:19 am

A 31-year-old private dentist succumbed to suspected dengue infection Wednesday at JJ Hospital, two days after hospitalisation.

According to doctors, Dr Apeksha Sontakke succumbed to dengue encephalitis. She lived in the doctors’ quarters on JJ Hospital campus. The incident has drawn attention yet again towards the rampant indoor breeding of mosquitoes on the hospital premises every year.

The blood samples of Sontakke have now been sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune for confirming whether she was dengue positive.

According to the doctors, she had tested positive for dengue in NS1 antigen test. However, her blood samples came negative for the same infection in other tests, named IgG and IgM.

Sontakke lived with her husband Dr Subodh Sontakke, who is currently the head of dental department at JJ Hospital, in Trimurti building. Dr Rajan Palav of the hospital’s ENT department, who died of dengue encephalitis in August 2010, lived in the same building.

Sontakke had been practising as a dentist in the Lalbaug area for more than seven years. She was admitted in the hospital’s medical intensive care unit on Monday. “Her platelet count was 1.5 lakh, which is normal. We are treating it as a suspected dengue death for now,” said Dr T P Lahane, dean at JJ Hospital. The doctor passed away at 4 am on Wednesday when the virus finally affected her brain.

On Wednesday, insecticide officers from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) found 10 mosquito-breeding spots of Aedes Aegypti, the known carrier for dengue virus, on the hospital premises. While no breeding site was detected in the Trimurti building, some were found in nearby buildings.

The BMC has now issued six caution notices to the hospital, despite carrying out a similar inspection drive and warning the administration a fortnight ago. “We had found several breeding sites even 15 days ago on the premises. It is a huge campus and requires constant vigilance,” a civic official said.

On Wednesday, breeding spots were found in Dhanvantari building block A (room 10) and block B (room 8), nurses hospital quarters, Swastik building (room 5), 300 Doctor’s Residential Hospital building, nurses’ office, PWD office, eye hospital and PG building (in room 12 and its library).

Of the 10 breeding sites found, seven were indoors in flower pots, bathtubs, drums and refrigerator plates. Every year, an awareness drive against mosquito breeding is carried out in the hospital.

“This shows even educated people are negligent about breeding of mosquitoes in their own flats. We have issued so many warnings,” said Dr Rajan Naringrekar, insecticide officer at BMC.

Sontakke had suffered from fever and weakness before her condition worsened.

Cases of dengue have touched 160 in Mumbai in September alone. The confirmed deaths reported so far are two due to the viral infection. With Sontakke’s death, the toll has reached three.