Mumbai: Mumbaikars living in posh areas and who thought diseases like dengue fever affected only those in slums are now concerned over its prevalence in their own localities.
The death of renowned Bollywood filmmaker Yash Chopra on Sunday due to dengue has triggered fears that dengue could affect anyone —rich or poor. Though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been taking an initiative to control the spread of this disease by carrying out fumigation, especially in the slum areas, the erratic rains and the heat that followed this month have been blamed for the spurt in dengue cases. This is because stagnant water, puddles, open water tanks and even flower vases — are breeding ground for mosquitoes in.
Since January this year, 647 dengue cases have been reported, with four people including Chopra succumbing to it. And out of 647 cases, the highest since 2010, 157 cases have been reported in the past 15 days. The civic body has begun an awareness campaign and has roped in 1,700 community health volunteers. A health official said, “People should understand that community participation is the best way of preventing this disease.”
However, a doctor in the eastern suburb of Chembur said that he, too, has come across more dengue cases in the last few years. “This is because all the gutters are now covered and all Mumbaikars, including the BMC, have shut their eyes to the fact that mosquitoes could be breeding under these covers,” he said, not wanting his name to be mentioned, “as these people, the BMC, are quite vindictive.” He hopes that the BMC wakes up to this reality and tries to tackle the mosquito menace.
Whether it is possible for the BMC to fumigate the entire city is not too clear but there are reports that it was difficult for the authority to carry out fumigation in “high-profile” buildings, particularly in the western suburbs, where many celebrities — the rich and security-conscious residents live.
Doctors are now warning patients against self-medication and are advising them to seek medical help if they develop sudden high fever.
Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito within the Aedes group. Symptoms include high fever, severe pain of the joints, at times vomiting and in severe cases, it causes bleeding from nose or under the skin.