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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Suspected cholera case reported from SoBo

Civic Authority Denies Cholera & Will Check Supply For Contamination; Guidelines Being Drawn Up For Water Problems

 Asuspected cholera case was reported at Saifee Hospital on Monday. A 45-year-old woman from an affluent south Mumbai family was brought to Saifee with symptoms of cholera and shifted to Kasturba Hospital the next day, from where the family shifted her to a private hospital. However, the BMC denied the woman had cholera. 
    According to sources 
in Saifee Hospital, the woman, from a Girgaum high-rise, had diarrhoea and was passing frequent "rice-water" stools. Doctors from the hospital said she tested positive for the hanging-drop test (the initial test for cholera). The hospital, however, transferred her to Kasturba Hospital on Tuesday night. "We realized it will be best if she was admitted in Kasturba Hospital, where all cases of infectious diseases are sent," said a Saifee Hospital source. 
    But the patient didn't want to be treated at Kasturba. "A case was brought to the hospital on Tuesday night, but the family took a discharge against medical advice on Tuesday night itself," said Dr Umesh Aigal, medical superintendent of Kasturba Hospital. The patient's family refused to comment. 
    The BMC denied the woman was suffering from cholera. BMC executive health officer, Anil Bandivdekar said, "Doctors from the private hospital may have felt she suffered from cholera, but her reports were negative. She was even taken away by her family within a few hours of admission to Kasturba." 
    "The test at Saifee was positive but the second (at Kasturba) was negative. Now the sample has been sent for the ELISA test. But that is likely to come negative, because by the time her second sample was taken, she was already on treatment," said a doctor from Kasturba. 
    Cholera has been never mentioned in BMC health files as officials say "its mere occurrence could attract international travel sanctions". Cholera is highly infectious and can spread within the community in a few hours. In recent years it is more manageable, but the BMC refrained from naming it. New Delhi and Chennai record hundreds of cholera cases every year, but BMC records always show zero cases. 
    Experts say water contaminated because of the old pipelines in Mumbai—especially in the island city—can be blamed for cholera. "The water pipes are structured in such a way that clean and waste water pipes run sideby-side. They are so old that if rusted, there may be mixing of water. Water is thus not contaminated from the source," said an official from the hydraulic department. 
    The BMC is sending a team to Girgaum. "We will check the water for contamination. If found unfit for consumption, then the source of contamination will be found and treated," said the official. About the Disease Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that leads to watery diarrhoea. It is caused by the bacterium vibrio cholerae. The bacteria give out a toxin that increases release of water in the intestine, which, in turn, leads to severe diarrhoea. Cholera occurs in places with poor sanitation, crowding, war and famine RISK FACTORS Exposure to contaminated or to untreated drinking water Living in or travelling to areas where cholera 
has been reported 
SYMPTOMS Watery diarrhoea that starts suddenly and has a 'fishy' odour, vomitting, abdominal cramps, dry skin, excessive thirst, low urine output, nausea and rapid dehydration COMPLICATIONS TREATMENT 
Other than intestines, it affects the stomach and kidneys due to dehydration. In severe cases, it can lead to renal failure. If left untreated, it could prove fatal. But with adequate fluids and treatment, most recover Usually antibiotics such as tetracyclines are administered, but the top priority is rehydration. There are vaccines for the infection, but since their efficacy hasn't been proved yet, they are rarely used in India ADVISORY 
Boil water before drinking Avoid eating food 
from unknown water sources 
Avoid consuming ice or cool drinks from roadside vendors Maintain 
hygiene in your surroundings TESTS TO DETERMINE CHOLERA 
The test determines bacterial motility. A glass slide, with a small concave portion in the middle, is used to "hang" (mixed with a diluent) a living microorganism which is examined under the microscope. Results can come within four hours 
An ELISA test uses components of the immune system and chemicals to detect immune responses in the body. ELISA tests are relatively accurate tests and are considered highly sensitive and specific. But results can take up to three days PREVENTION 
Wash hands regularly, avoid areas with cholera outbreaks, drink boiled water


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