This Article is From Jul 09, 2010

Malaria alert issued in Mumbai

Mumbai: It is an annual concern in Mumbai - with the monsoon come a host of diseases. Key among them is malaria. There has been an alarming rise in malaria cases in the city over the last few years and civic authorities are at a lose end as they try and grapple with the malaria crisis.  

Every second house in Mumbai's Lower Parel chawl in Central Mumbai has a malaria patient.

"In the last month one person died of malaria. About 30-40 people here have malaria," said Ganesh Mazdekar, a resident of Mohan Mill Compound.

About 4,000 cases have been reported in June alone. What's also worrying, is the change in malaria patterns.

"Earlier we thought falciparum malaria or cerebral malaria was the main culprit. But in the last 2-3 years the vivax strain which was relatively milder has mutated, and it's causing multi-organ failure, lung injury and patients are dying. There is a definite increase in the virulence of the malaria strain,'' said Dr. Khusrav Bajan, Intensivist, Hinduja Hospital.

Mumbai has seen an alarming rise in malaria cases. About 30 per cent higher compared to last year. The soaring numbers have caught the civic authorities off guard.

Most of these cases are from central Mumbai. Once home to the city's mills, it is now an upmarket business and residential district.

The vulnerable areas are Worli, Parel, Prabhadevi, Dadar and Matunga.

For better fumigation, civic authorities are using fire-fighting equipment. Their focus is on buildings under construction, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

"With the help of these, we are going to places where is water logging and we are trying to get rid of it," said Ramkrishna Bhor, Assistant Pest Control Officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.