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Mumbai toll drops, hopes rise

Mumbai, Aug. 14: Fewer deaths were reported in Mumbai today ' and none elsewhere in the state ' raising hope that the wave of post-flood diseases could be ebbing. There was no slow-down in hospital admissions, though.

Eighteen people died in Mumbai today ' taking the toll in the city to 107 ' but this was 13 short of yesterday’s count of 31. The overall toll in Maharashtra stood at 179, state health officials said.

“That (the fall in the daily death count) is the good news if one may call it that,” said Dr R.R. Katti, assistant director (disaster management), state health services.

“Two patients died of suspected leptospirosis today, one of gastro-enteritis, one of malaria and 14 others of (undiagnosed) fever.”

The municipal hospitals in the city recorded 1,043 admissions, roughly the same as yesterday.

In the suburbs of Kalyan and Dombivli in Thane, 81 people continue to be treated in hospital for various diseases, including 10 for suspected leptospirosis and 51 for undiagnosed fever.

The director-general of the state health services, Dr Subhash Salunkhe, had declared the outbreak an “epidemic” a few days ago with more than 3,000 people being admitted to hospitals across the city and its suburbs. But the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and its officials prevailed over the state administration to avoid the “e” word.

On Thursday, state public health minister Vimal Mundada said he had asked the civic authorities to declare an epidemic. But the corporation denied receiving such an order.

In 2001, Mumbai was in the grip of leptospirosis after a spell of heavy rain, civic officials said, and the death toll had touched 99.

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