Rise in death toll stokes fear of post-floods epidemic (LEADS)
Indo-Asian News Service
Mumbai, Aug 11 (IANS) The outbreak of waterborne diseases following floods in India's financial hub showed no signs of abating Thursday with the number of deaths crossing 55 even as the government played down fears of an epidemic.
Civic authorities said they had launched major initiatives to tackle the threat of an epidemic and to provide immediate medical care to those who had been affected by waterborne diseases.
Most of the 55 dead were from the densely populated city suburbs that were worst affected by last month's floods.
Maharashtra Health Minister Vimal Mundada said over 1,000 patients had been admitted to various Mumbai hospitals with complications arising from leptospirosis, dengue, typhoid and hepatitis.
Mundada told reporters that all government hospitals in this city of over 15 million people had been put on alert to give priority to cases of fever. The hospitals will provide medicines free of cost to all patients.
Despite the rising death toll, the state government played down fears of an epidemic and said the situation was completely under control.
"We are worried about the rising toll and efforts are being made to identify the cases in the affected areas at the earliest," said V.L. Patankar, the city's additional municipal commissioner.
"Most of the cases are suspected to be due to leptospirosis, dengue or malaria. We have sent medical teams and medicines to all areas that are badly affected by the diseases," Patankar told IANS.
"Since the incubation period of 10 days for all kinds of infectious diseases has just ended, people are reporting symptoms like high fever, vomiting and respiratory problems.
"But things haven't reached epidemic proportions yet and all efforts are being made to bring the situation back to normal very soon."
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