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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Leptospirosis in Mumbai & other parts of Maharashtra - Promed

Published Date: 2015-09-16 18:55:48
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Leptospirosis - India (04): (MH) 
Archive Number: 20150916.3650287
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Tue 15 Sep 2015
Source: DNA [edited]

Leptospirosis patients are found in coastal areas like Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg and also in rice cultivating areas of Vidarbha and tribal areas in Pune district.

To combat cases of leptospirosis, which rise during the monsoons, the state government is adopting the control strategy of vaccinating milch [milk?] animals, which play a part in transmitting the infection. The disease, which is caused by the _Leptospira_ bacteria, spreads through animal urine and has claimed 19 lives in Maharashtra this year [2015].

"While the quantity of urine discharged by mice is just around 1-3 ml, cattle like cows, buffaloes and bullocks, which are reared by people in rural areas, pass around half to 3 litres of urine. In cattle sheds, the urine and dung is mixed, and the floor, if it is kuccha[?], tends to remain damp, helping the bacteria breed and infect people," said a senior health department official.

He added that they had come across cases where people who did not even go to farms, where hosts like rodents transmit the disease through contaminated water and mud, had been affected. This was because these patients had come in contact with cattle urine.

The official said that hence, these animals would be vaccinated by the state animal husbandry department to prevent spread of the infection through renal shedding. "The volume of cattle urine is more, and people come into contact with it more often," he explained.

In 2011, the number of leptospirosis patients was 476, and the deaths stood at 48. However, in the next year, this rose to 510 and 16, respectively. In 2013, the number of patients fell to 453, while deaths rose to 20. 2014 was a better year in terms of cases, with a lower number of patients (179) and deaths (7) being reported.

As of Monday [14 Sep 2015], a total number of around 130 patients and 19 deaths have been reported in Maharashtra. The highest number of deaths have been reported from Mumbai (18), followed by Thane (1).

The state health department has identified 45 villages as belonging to the high-risk category. Workers in primary health centres (PHCs) in districts with a high incidence of leptospirosis have been asked to make weekly visits to conduct surveys about patients; diagnostic kits and medicines have been made available in the PHCs, rural, sub-district, and district hospitals, and blood component separation units are available in all districts except Palghar.

Fever, body and muscle aches, especially in the area under the back and in the calves, red eyes, and headache, and even breathlessness, are among the symptoms.

[Byline: Dhaval Kulkarni]

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