With 102 dengue and 271 malaria cases detected in 11 days after Mumbai witnessed heavy rains on August 29, health experts and civic officials anticipate an escalation in the number of dengue cases due to rampant water retention and rise in breeding areas for mosquitoes.
Between September 1 and 11, 1,974 mosquito breeding spots have been found by insecticide department officers. Each breeding spot can have 150-200 eggs, raising concerns over the spread of mosquitoes across Mumbai. In addition, intermittent rains have made it difficult for the civic body to clear stagnated water.
“Most breeding sites are in common spots such as flower pots, water tanks, drums, on top of tarpaulin sheets. This season, a lot of temporary sheds have been erected that provide space for water to get collected,” said Dr Rajan Naringrekar, the insecticide officer in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), adding that wherever dengue virus is present, the mosquito will spread it.
Dengue is spread by aedes aegypti mosquito that breeds in fresh water, mostly indoors, and bites during daytime. The BMC can issue notices under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act’s Section 381 for not maintaining mosquito-proof premises. Since January 11, the BMC has issued 11,237 notices to those found responsible for mosquito breeding. Of them, 637 have been prosecuted and a fine of Rs 22 lakh has been collected.
Most breeding sites were found in M East (Govandi) and E (Madanpura and Byculla) wards. According to Bhansi B R, the pest control officer in E ward, after rain, water gets accumulated in the narrow alleys of Madanpura where accessibility is difficult. “We can see water on terraces and sheds. But we can’t access Kamathipura and Nagpada easily. Residents also don’t cooperate,” he said.
Doctors claim, this season there are more youngsters seeking treatment for dengue and the number of men is higher than women. The most common age bracket is 14 to 35 years. In the first 11 days of September, 102 dengue cases were confirmed in contrast to 93 recorded in all of August.
Seven deaths have been reported this year. Dr Shahid Barmare, general physician at Kohinoor Hospital in Kurla, is getting five-six patients a day of whom 50 per cent require hospitalisation. “We are only admitting patients with platelet count lower than a lakh or those who vomit and suffer complications.”
Following heavy rains, the city saw a dry spell with sunny weather. Such weather is most conducive for the virus to spread. Those whose platelet count drops below 10,000 have been advised platelet transfusion, he added.BMC officials claimed that several cases are being reported from residential societies where water is getting collected in small articles like unused tyres, open drums and empty coconut shells.
On Friday, a Malad residential building was detected with six breeding sites. “Three men, all aged 30, were diagnosed with dengue. In two cases, the breeding spot was found in their flat,” an insecticide officer from P North ward said.