26-year-old new mom is city’s 10th dengue victim this year

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 05 November 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A 26-year-old new mother became the fourth victim of dengue in a week in the city when she passed away at Dalvie Hospital, Pedder Road, on Monday night, even as three resident doctors from KEM Hospital, Parel, were admitted to the hospital with dengue. Incidentally, Nisha Chavan, a Tradeo resident who leaves behind a six-week-old daughter, delivered at KEM Hospital.

KEM Hospital seems to be emerging as the hotbed of the current dengue outbreak with two of last week's four deaths occurring in the hospital last —resident doctor Shruti Khobragade and 20-year-old Shubham Tiwari, on October 27 and November 2, respectively.

The toll in dengue this year is 10 so far, but the BMC acknowledges only seven. Two of the three resident doctors are admitted to KEM Hospital and one to a private hospital. "Nisha seems to have developed some heart complications that led to her death,'' said Dr Sanjay Godbole from Dalvie Hospital. While Nisha tested negative for dengue at KEM Hospital where she went for a check-up on Sunday morning, she tested positive for it at Dalvie Hospital 12 hours later.

Blame it on the combination of higher-than-usual November temperatures and poor civic hygiene and planning, but the high incidence of dengue—the mosquito-borne viral fever—has shocked the city's public health system that had just heaved a sigh of relief over the unusually low cases of malaria this year.

In fact, several high-ranking public health officials of the BMC had to work on Muharram despite it being a government holiday. The wake-up call was no doubt the deaths of four patients within a week (A civic employee's husband Sandeep Gaikwad passed away in Nair Hospital on Saturday). The mosquito-borne disease has claimed ten lives in Mumbai so far this year, inching towards last year's high of 12 deaths.

Dengue seemed relatively minor in the years prior with 5 deaths in 2012, and 3 each in 2011 and 2010.

But the unusually high temperatures in October seem to have triggered of a mini-outbreak. Dr Amol Manerkar, who consults in several in the Ghatkopar-Kurla belt—which has been identified as one of the high-risk zones for dengue this year—said that the "dengue assault'' this year has been unprecedented. "I was admitting 30 patients a day last week in the various hospitals I am attached to. The figure is a bit lower at 20 this week," he said, adding that "if this were in-patient statistics, then one can imagine how many patients came to the out-patient department for treatment."

In Kohinoor Hospital, Kurla, Dr Manerkar admitted a mother-son pair last week. "The son flew down from Goa where he lives and the mother lives in Pestom Sagar, Chembur. She was diagnosed with malaria and dengue while he has dengue. Clearly, dengue is rampant across this belt," he said.

It's not only adults, but even children who suffered this year. Dr Deepak Ugra, paediatrician from Bandra and former president of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, said that he had admitted a never-before number of children to various hospitals due to dengue. "In the September-October period, there were so many children who were affected by dengue that I was shocked," he said.

The BMC has consistently maintained that citizens are to blame for the dengue spurt. "In the KEM Hospital complex, people don't throw styrofoam cups after drinking tea or water into the dustbins. With a little bit of water accumulation, dengue mosquitoes can breed easily," said Dr Shubhangi Parker, dean of KEM Hospital

Meanwhile, Dr Mangala Gomare, BMC's chief epidemiology officer, said that Shubham Tiwari's death cannot be counted as a dengue death in Mumbai mainly because he lived in Mira Road. "He got fever and came to his brother's house in Elphinstone Road,'' she said, indicating that the transmission patterns would be different and BMC cannot carry out survellience drives in the satellite city.

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