Leptospirosis may have claimed another victim in the city, after a teenager died in Kandivali. According to a news report in The Times of India, the 16-year-old had gone for a swim at a local pond on Saturday. Although it hasn’t been confirmed by the civic body, the cause of the boy’s death is suspected to be leptospirosis. And if it is confirmed, the teenager would be the fifth victim of the deadly illness this monsoon.
The deceased’s family said that the boy had gone out for a swim in the pond a fortnight ago and soon after the incident, started exhibiting symptoms. He developed fever and was taking medication from a local physician. But after seeing no difference in his condition, the family admitted him to a hospital on July 24.
A number of tests later, it was confirmed that he was indeed suffering from leptospirosis. The boy had recently completed his SSC and had sought admission for commerce at Patkar College in Goregaon. According to a family friend, the boy accompanied his friends to a pond near the Keni House chawl. But it’s not clear whether he too swam in the pond, which is in close proximity to the nullah.
BMC executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar said that they were yet to be informed about the boy’s death and that they could only come to a conclusion after a committee analyses the case. Previously, another teenager boy who waded through the water at Marine Drive fell victim to the disease and died soon after.
Since the monsoons begun, 25 cases of leptospirosis have been reported. It is seen mostly during the rains and is spread through contaminated rain water. Infected urine of animals such as rats contain a deadly bacteria known as leptospira. When people wade through rain water contaminated with rat faeces and urine, the bacteria may enter the human, body through cuts and scrapes on the skin. In around two to four weeks, the first symptoms of the disease start manifesting.
The BMC has instructed people who have waded in rain water for 30 minutes to immediately take antibiotics to counter any infection. A single dose of 200mg doxycycline or azithromycin should be taken within 72 hours of exposure. The medicines will be distributed for free at BMC’s dispensaries and clinics. Previously, the civic body had issued a warning after the torrential rains of August 2017, which forced many people to wade through flood waters.