Malaria menace continues unabated in Mumbai

The mosquito menace has hit the commercial capital of the country hard this monsoon season, with the number of deaths due to malaria recording a high and hospitals spilling over with patients.

The civic body that is responsible for tackling monsoon-related diseases has had to fall back on private practitioners and private laboratories. Meanwhile, alarmed at the figures being reported from Mumbai, the centre had sent a team of health experts who have submitted a detailed report.

According to the data recorded by the Directorate of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, there has been a 55 per cent increase in the number of positive cases and 15 per cent increase in the falcifarum variety in Mumbai as against the cases reported between April 2009 and June 2010. Totally around 31 deaths have been reported due to malaria so far this year.

In 2009, the BMC had reported a 10 per cent increase in cases with the civic body identifying 134 new high risk areas in the city along the metro rail construction sites. Civic officials and health experts in Mumbai have laid the blame on the increased construction activity.

They say the sites are ideal breeding ground for the female anopheles mosquito and labourers from malaria endemic states like Chhatisgarh are also spreading the disease.

According to the BMC, 58 per cent of Mumbai's 19500 malaria cases recorded since 1 June are from seven civic wards, with around 33 per cent cases recorded in Sewri, Mahalaxmi, Byculla, Chembur and Ghatkopar, while 25 per cent of the cases were recorded in Reay Road, Mahim Causeway, Dharavi, airport, Santacruz and Vikhroli.