Hospitals in Delhi see increase in typhoid fever, respiratory problems; unusual rains a trigger

New Delhi: Hospitals in Delhi are seeing an increase in patients coming to OPDs with upper respiratory infections, typhoid fever and gastroenteritis due to the unusual rains and weather changes.

Doctors say the number of such cases has nearly doubled as a result of increased awareness about such infections necessitated by the pandemic.

“Today, every day we receive more than 20 patients in the OPD with complaints of upper respiratory infections, undiagnosed long-term fever, typhoid fever, swine flu cases, allergies, pneumonia and dengue,” said Dr. Bhagwan Mantri, Pulmonologist Consultant and Intensive Care Specialist at Moolchand Hospital.

“In the past, the number of such patients was less than 10 per day, but we are now seeing a peak,” he said.

The infections occur in all age groups, but when respiratory infections occur in the elderly, they take a severe form, he added.

Experts say the increase in infectious diseases is generally observed every year after the monsoon.

But unlike in previous years, some hospitals are also seeing increased numbers of scrub typhoid and leptospirosis cases.

Dengue fever, which has become a regular burden this season, is a regular condition among OPD patients today. In addition, we get typhoid fever, acute gastroenteritis, viral hepatitis, upper respiratory infections, some cases of swine flu, and occasionally to Covid cases,” said Dr. Manoj Sharma, Senior Consultant Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj.

“This year we are also getting cases of typhoid and leptospirosis, although the numbers are not huge, they are definitely more than previous years,” he said.

Scrub typhus is an infectious disease caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, a mite-borne bacteria. Chigger mites, the larval stage of mites, transmit the disease from animals such as rats, squirrels and rabbits to humans.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through the urine or feces of rats and cattle.

According to Dr SCL Gupta, medical director of Batra Hospital, the unusual rains and sudden weather change could be a reason for the spike in cases.

“Our hospital sees cases of upper respiratory tract infections in children, especially those under seven to eight years old. The symptoms are fever, shortness of breath, cough, discomfort,” Gupta said.

Mantri agreed with Gupta and said September saw unusual rains, which could have been the cause.

“In the past, the diseases would show up in July and August, but now with the rains in September, the timing of the appearance of these diseases has also shifted to September,” Manti said, adding that when Covid-19 was at its peak , a peak in such cases was not seen.

Doctors advise people to wear a mask because it protects not only against Covid-19 but also other viruses that are transmitted through the air.

“If you have a fever for more than 48 hours, see a doctor. Fever can lead to complications if not treated in time,” Mantri advised.

The senior doctor also said that Covid-19 has made people take respiratory infections seriously.

“When people experience shortness of breath, they consult a doctor because there is still some fear of Covid. Even doctors refer patients with respiratory diseases to pulmonologists,” he added.

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