There is a certain chill in the air. The intermittent rains in the last few weeks coupled with contaminated drinking water has made life miserable for literally thousands of Hyderabadis. A staggering 19,891 cases of viral infections were treated at the Fever Hospital in August alone! These were all out-patient cases. In the same month, 10,268 patients were admitted – needless to say a majority of them were in for a day or two at the most. Still, the figures do tell a story.
“More than 70% of the cases are of common fever. The viral infection this year is above normal,” Dr. K Shankar, Superintendent, Fever Hospital, told City Express. The cause of concern though is the prevalence of dengue fever. Though doctors and officials deny it, unconfirmed reports suggest it is slowly but surely spreading. While a few cases have been reported at the Gandhi Hospital, more than 10 were reported last month at the Fever Hospital.
Asked if indeed dengue is spreading, Dr Shankar downplayed it and said, “So far, we have not got a single case. We suspected some, but those were not confirmed.” Authorities at the Gandhi Hospital refused to comment on dengue fever cases.
As far as the common viral infections are concerned, on September 10 alone, there were 183 in-patients at the Fever Hospital. This month, over 500 were treated for the same at the hospital. “Each day, we treat an average of 1900-1200 patients. Last year, the average was around 400-600,” said Dr Shankar. This month, in the out-patient section, more than 8,000 have been treated for viral infections.
Another alarming fact is the rise in number of swine flu cases. 154 swine flu cases have been treated at the Chest Hospital so far since January this year. “So far, 19 people have died after contracting the virus, while four are currently undergoing treatment in the hospital. Every year, two or three cases are reported, but this time, since we are testing each patient, so many cases have been reported. We admit patients depending on the severity of his/her condition,” said Dr. Shubakar Kandi, pulmonologist at the Chest Hospital.
“Drinking polluted water leads to diarrhoea. Water stagnation increases the number of mosquitoes in the city. Hence, mosquitoes carrying malaria and dengue viruses increase as well. But this year, it is probably due to the spreading of a virus that so many cases of viral fever have been reported,” opined Dr. Shubhakar.
A senior doctor at the Gandhi Hospital, who wished to remain anonymous, also said that there was a spike in the number of malaria, diarrhoea and dengue cases this time. “Patients from other districts like Nizamabad, Nalgonda, Mahbubnagar, etc also come here for treatment. May be, that is why the number is higher. The weather too is conducive for the spread of viruses,” he pointed out.