Updated: July 9, 2015 1:54:58 am
With three new leptospirosis cases diagnosed Wednesday and a record 12 deaths reported in just one week of July, the civic body is now in the process of eliminating the most common carrier of the disease — rodents — with the help of external agencies. A proposal is being mulled to give a contract in both eastern and western suburbs to kill rats and help the civic body reduce the rodent count.
Additionally, about 2,500 rat traps are now being bought through the central purchase department. Currently, the civic body has 2,000 rat traps for the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The leptospirosis bacteria can spread to humans through rodents, goats, dogs, cattle and bats. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) insecticide department has already killed 1.18 lakh rats since January 1 until June-end but has no means to control the other carriers.
With the onset of monsoon, the rat poison tablets, made out of a mixture of flour, garlic paste and coriander along with poison, have ceased to be effective. “Rat traps can only be used for indoor rats. The number of outdoor rodents caught have reduced in June,” said Dr Rajan Naringrekar, insecticide officer at BMC. In June, 15,495 rats were caught and killed, with the maximum (3,140) found in B-ward comprising Byculla.
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The external agency will now be employed to ‘kill at sight’ a certain number of rats that will be handed over to the BMC. “We will be able to chalk out the entire proposal by Monday,” said Sanjay Deshmukh, BMC’s Additional Municipal Commissioner. A rat gives birth to over eight babies in a gestation period of 21 days. Currently, the BMC has a total of 31 rat killers in the island city.
The city has recorded 29 leptospirosis cases since January. The fatality is 46 per cent — the highest in last five years. According to the civic health department, seven patients died within 24 hours of admission and had approached proper medical care only at an advanced stage. “If the patients approach within the first few days, the disease can be easily treated,” said Dr Minnie Khetarpal, Deputy Executive Health Officer.
According to Deshmukh, the cases are unusually high this year due to non-stop splashes of rain for three continuous days in June, leading to waterlogging in several areas. A person wading through water has high chances of contracting the bacteria. “The incubation period of leptospirosis is 3 to 21 days. We expect more cases in the next few days,” Deshmukh said.
Meanwhile, the civic health department reported 2,886 malaria, 1,842 H1N1, and 181 dengue cases since January in Mumbai.
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