Mumbai sees rise in chickenpox cases, dip in mercury to be blamed

City doctors say 90 per cent of cases are from paediatric age group between 1 and 14 years and 10 per cent of cases are witnessed in adults aged between 25 and 30 years


Drop in temperatures have brought back chickenpox scare. In the last few weeks, Mumbai doctors have noted a sudden surge in chickenpox cases, especially in children.

Raju Mhatre (name changed), a 10-year-old Mira Road resident, did not know he had chickenpox until he visited a doctor.

“Raju was complaining of small itchy boils for past two days, but we ignored it. Then the boils spread all over his body. Doctors told us that despite vaccination, sometimes children get infected with it,” said Raju’s father.

In another case, 17-year-old Andheri resident Priya Shah also suffered from chickenpox.

“My friend in the college got chickenpox and I got infected too,” Shah said.

Dr Anil Pachnekar, former President of Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Earlier we would get one case, but now we are receiving three to four cases daily. Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection. Such a kind of virus grows faster in cold climate and it spreads fast too.”

Though 90 per cent of cases are from paediatric age group between 1 and 14, 10 per cent of cases are witnessed in adults aged between 25 and 30,” said Pachnekar.

So far, majority of the cases have been reported from Sion, Dadar, Parel and Lalbaug area, which are highly congested.

With change is weather conditions, doctors have advised to take precautions.

“Eat healthy diet and avoid crowded public places as much as possible. If you or any child feels itchiness and develops rashes on the skin, then do not ignore these signs and consult the nearest doctor,” said Pachnekar.

Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection caused by varicella virus. Chickenpox is also known as a childhood disease as 90% of its cases are registered in children below 14 years. Chickenpox can occur at any time, but it occurs most often in March, April and May.

Dr Minnie Khetrapal, Head of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Epidemiology Cell, said, “This is a time when chickenpox can spread easily. We know of its cases at Kasturba Hospital – BMC’s hospital for infectious diseases – but all are stable. There is nothing to panic. Comparing with last year’s data, the overall cases are less.”

Khetrapal advised that parents should seek medical help if they spot any symptoms, like itching on the skin, in their kids.

“If your child has fever and there are rashes on the body, then medical help should be taken,” she added.