MUMBAI: The disease pattern in the city has been springing a surprise every year and 2012, too, is no different. As the almost four-month monsoon - often associated with a spike in ailments - prepares to retreat, records show H1N1 giving the chills to the city's population showing a more than 50-fold jump in cases over last year and malaria emerging as the most lethal, claiming 30 lives despite a 62% drop in cases from 2011.
But the disease that has even doctors worried is dengue, which emerged at the fag end of the monsoon and seems likely to peril Mumbaikars for longer. Dengue cases continued their march, rising almost four fold since 2010. The volume of malaria cases and deaths remained much higher than dengue, but the threat from the second vector-borne disease seems much greater, given that a higher percentage of patients needed hospitalization and some even ICU care.
Consultant physician and chief intensivist of P D Hinduja Dr Khusrav Bhajan labelled dengue as the most challenging of the surprises sprung by this monsoon. "Dengue patients have been arriving with chills and shivering that are classic symptoms of malaria. It is also affecting the liver, a rare complication associated with dengue," he said.
Though showers have drastically come down, Bhajan has been treating four to five dengue cases every day. "Out of those patients, at least 50% need hospitalization as the platelet count tends to fall drastically," he said.
If H1N1 showed the most wildly swinging statistics with 353 cases and four casualties in the city so far this year as against only six cases and no deaths in 2011, a strange picture of contrasts was thrown up by malaria - incidence dropped by 79% from 2010 and 86 fewer deaths were reported, yet it has been the worst killer in the city so far this year with 30 casualties.