Waterborne infections have increased in the city as summer temperatures climb every day and monsoon season approaches. In the first two weeks of this month, city hospitals recorded 395 instances of diarrhea, compared to just four cases in the entire month of May last year. Diarrhea cases have increased by 9,775 percent. Similarly, hospitals reported 111 cases of typhoid from May 1 to May 14, a 556 percent increase from 17 cases in May of last year. In the same period, the city saw 48 jaundice cases, up from 23 in May of last year. Data from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s (AMC) health department showed that vector-borne diseases were also higher from May of last year. In the first two weeks of this month, city hospitals recorded 45 instances of malaria, compared to just six in the entire month of May last year. During the same period, four cases of falciparum were reported in the city. In May of the previous year, there were no instances of falciparum. Seven dengue and three chikungunya cases were reported from May 1 to May 14, compared to three and five cases reported in May last year.VOI spoke to some experts to find the consequences of consuming non-potable water.
Dr Manish Bhatnagar, a renowned gastroenterologist, said, “The water tends to turn unsanitary and even if it looks visibly healthy it might not be as healthy as it looks. These can immediately turn into Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B infections, jaundice, and gastroenteritis. Not only the season, but some man-made hazards can also cause these problems. Sewage lines and drinking water lines may get mixed. Two years ago, a similar case had occurred in the Sardarnagar area as well.”
Dr Bhatnagar further explained, ” These can be caused by elements like stale stored foods, unhygienic utensils. People also consume a lot of Icesicles during summer which might prove unhealthy for the body. There are ways to prevent waterborne diseases. This includes avoiding eating outside food or junk food but this is something that no one can follow in Gujarat. It is better to make sure that wherever you are eating, the place must be hygienic. Water pouches and plastic bottles too must be avoided. If you have any other diseases that tend to weaken your immune system, these will affect and spread immediately in the body and worsen the situation. It is always better to consult a doctor and start treatment immediately to avoid unwanted complications.”
Dr Tapan Shah, MD Medicine, MBBS, AFIH, is of the view that the sudden seasonal change and the sudden free movement after the pandemic can also be hazardous. Not just the seasonal changes but the mixing of sewage lines and drinking water lines too are one of the main reasons. These can lead to body malfunctions like diarrhoea, vomiting and typhoid. There are ways one can prevent waterborne diseases: by having boiled water as it kills unwanted bacteria and foreign bodies, avoiding unhygienic food, not eating in unhygienic stalls that spread bacteria as local vendors fail to maintain cleanliness around their food stalls.”