Desperate times call for desperate measures.
As a host of monsoon maladies — both waterborne like diarrhoea and vector-borne such as malaria, dengue and Japanese encephalitis — stalk Jamshedpur and its fringes, civic guardians are on an overdrive to combat an army of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Records compiled from private hospitals across the city, the state-run MGM Medical College and Hospital in Sakchi and the Khasmahal Sadar Hospital show that around 75 per cent turnout at OPDs have been viral or bacterial cases since mid-August. Fungal skin and eye infections rank next.
The East Singhbhum district administration has directed the civil surgeon to ensure that duty rosters for spraying of larvicides and DDT, especially in low-lying areas that were inundated in flash floods, are provided to the Dhalbhum SDO every 24 hours.
“The district malaria and filaria departments have been put on vigil, while urban local bodies (read JNAC, MNAC and Jugsalai Municipality) have been directed to clean clogged drains,” said civil surgeon Jagat Bhusan Prasad.
City-based gastroenterologist N.C. Singhal said that the E. Coli, Salmonella and Shigella were causing most waterborne diseases. “These bacteria trigger intestinal infection and cause diarrhoea, typhoid, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting. A high level of hygiene can buffer complications,” the doctor said.
The city’s major water supplier Jusco, which routes 170 million litres of potable water every day among 700,000 residents in its command areas, claims it is adhering to international quality standards.
“Raw water (from Subernarekha) is treated (with alum and poly aluminium chloride) to give it a turbidity of 1NTU (nephelometric turbidity unit) as prescribed by WHO. Besides, at the customer end, we have a free chlorine level of 0.2mg/litre, which also matches global standards of drinking water safety,” said Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan.
Every monsoon, the utility firm embarks on a door-to-door and daily water sample collection for quality tests at its Sakchi lab. “Moreover, in city areas, company quarters/apartments do not have underground water tanks that may receive contaminated rainwater. They have overhead tanks that are covered,” Rajan added.
Jusco is also hosting community health talks, door-to-door and FM awareness campaigns to prevent disease outbreak. “We started the talks from mid-July and so far, have covered 60,000 households. The target is a lakh,” Rajan said.
Dermatologist R.P. Thakur said fungal infections were also a matter of concern in monsoon. “Folded skin is the worst affected. People with renal problems and diabetes, which reduce immunity, are more susceptible,” he said.
Head of ophthalmology at MGM hospital Vinay Ranjan said: “Bacteria in rainwater can cause itching. If not treated, the infection can cause red eyes and pus. One must always wash eyes with filtered water.”
Drink boiled, chlorinated or mineral water
Eat fresh food
Cover mouth while sneezing/coughing
Use disposable tissue
Put up mosquito net
Keep yourself covered all the time
Wash eyes with clean water often
Use anti-fungal powder
Clean your home’s water tank/reservoir
Drink water from unsafe source
Eat cut fruits
Eat open, stale or spicy food
Let water stagnate inside or around home
Let unused containers, tyre and flower pots lie near house
Share food, water or clothes
Ignore early symptoms