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Doctors on alert as typhoid cases rise in Pune; PMC blames uncleaned water tanks

July 07,2024

Pune: The city is witnessing a sudden spike in typhoid cases, putting local medical professionals on alert.

Adults as well as children have been affected by this recent outbreak, Pune Municipal Corporation Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) health department officials said, and added that the situation is under control.

PMC assistant health officer Dr Rajesh Dighe said there was an outbreak recently in a society in Sadanandnagar, where the water tanks had not been cleaned for some time.

“Once typhoid patients started being reported from the society, we took water samples from the tanks as well as the civic body water supply taps in the area and sent them for testing,” Dighe said.

“We found that the water in the tanks was contaminated, and the society was intimated about it and asked to clean the tanks or face action,” Dighe said.

As many as 21 people had tested positive from the society, he said, and added that they have all now recovered.

“We had found two more patients from other areas such as Kondhwa,” he said, and emphasised that hospitals should immediately notify the civic administration of any cases. He warned that they could face action for failing to do so.

Dr Amita Kaul, head of the department and senior paediatrics consultant at Surya Mother and Child Super Speciality Hospital, told TOI, “We’ve seen a marked increase in enteric fever cases over the past month. Our institute is admitting two to three children daily with high fever, vomiting, and in some instances, severe abdominal pain and dehydration.”

The bacterial infection, caused by Salmonella typhi and Salmonella paratyphi A, enters the body through contaminated food and water.

Kaul said that many patients’ blood cultures have tested positive for Salmonella typhi, with some children presenting low blood counts and platelet levels.

“We suspect the surge may be linked to sewage contamination in water lines or increased coliform content in rivers. This systemic infection in most cases is not responding to oral antibiotics and needs hospitalisation and IV antibiotics,” Dr Kaul said.

Typhoid is a vaccine-preventable disease. “However, this year has seen a rise in cases caused by the paratyphoid strain, which is not covered by the current vaccine,” she added.

Dr Ameet Dravid, an infectious diseases specialist from Noble Hospital, agreed that there has been a significant surge in typhoid cases.

Dravid added that the majority of patients presented with prolonged fever and tested positive for Salmonella in blood cultures.

Doctors have noticed that it is taking longer for the fever to subside, typically seven to 10 days, indicating a prolonged fever feature in the current cases.

“In some cases, diagnosis was initially challenging as patients had taken over-the-counter antibiotics. This can prevent Salmonella from growing in blood cultures, obscuring the diagnosis. As a result, some patients had a history of fever for a month but weren’t diagnosed with typhoid initially,” he said.

Source: Healthworld

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