Mumbai is witnessing a drastic rise in deaths with 12 persons succumbing to leptospirosis or otherwise called field fever in the past one week.
Most of the victims in Mumbai, including a 12-year-old girl, lived between Goregaon and Dahisar and were under 30 years of age.
Between July 1 and 7, twelve of the 21 (57%) who tested positive for the disease have died in various municipal hospitals. BMC officials pegged death rate to the delay among the patients in seeking treatment.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that spreads through flooded or stagnant water contaminated with urine of infected rats, dogs or horses. It was the largest monsoon killer in 2005 as well as in 2007 when thousands were affected.
"Leptospirosis is easily curable with a simple antibiotic like doxycycline, but seven of these victims came so late for treatment that they died within 24 hours of hospitalization,'' said BMC executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar.
BMC's epidemiology officer Dr Mini Khetarpal said that eight of the 12 patients had a history of wading through floodwaters. "There are over 10,000 private practitioners to whom people with fever will go to. We will sensitize them about the disease," she said.
People with high fever, along with headache and severe body ache, should be checked for leptospirosis. It can even affect people who have splashed around in puddles in their housing colonies and also for people who have waded through flooded roads.
"Leptospirosis affects wild as well as domestic animals, so urine of any of the infected animals can spread the disease," said, Dr Om Srivastava, Infectious diseases specialist, BMC-run Kasturba Hospital.