Monsoon may be three months away, but Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) health department has begun its work to ensure leptospirosis cases are in control this time year during rains.
“Rodent control measures have already begun. In phase I, we have identified waterlogging areas in Mumbai with the help of BMC’s disaster control department,” said Rajan Naringrekar, Pesticide Officer, BMC.
In last three years, the infection has claimed 35 lives in Mumbai. In 2016, 180 cases of leptospirosis were registered, along with nine deaths, till October.
Naringrekar said as per the plans, live rat burrows will be targeted between March and June.
“We will bring down the percentage of live rat burrows to below 5 in flood-prone areas of Mumbai,” said Naringrekar.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection. It is typically transmitted to humans when they come in contact with flooded rainwater that contains urine of infected animals, commonly rats. Last year, Mumbai witnessed leptospirosis cases n months when there were no rains.
While leptospirosis is considered a curable and non-fatal disease when treated within three days of development of symptoms, high number of deaths in Mumbai had kept BMC health officials and city doctors on their toes last year.
BMC’s health department has now decided to conduct a study to find the reasons behind leptospirosis cases in Mumbai. Leptospirosis cases registered in Mumbai and another district from Maharashtra will be a part of the study which will be done with the help of KEM Hospital’s (Mumbai) prevention medicine department.
“People living with cattle didn’t get infected, but others did. We also found that people who didn’t have history of walking through flooded water, too, contracted the disease. There has to be other determinants which need to be detected to better disease control measures,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, Executive Health Officer, BMC.
She said pet owners and cattle shed owners have been instructed to get their animals vaccinated for leptospirosis.