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Govt says epidemic in Mumbai, retracts

By A Correspondent in Mumbai
Last updated on: August 11, 2005 22:45 IST
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The Maharashtra government on Thursday issued an epidemic alert in Mumbai and then retracted it within hours.

The Directorate General of Information and Public Relations, in a press statement sent late on Thursday night, denied that there was any epidemic in Mumbai.

Earlier, the Maharashtra government had said it declared an outbreak of epidemic in the municipal areas of Mumbai and the Kalyan-Dombivli region in the neighbouring Thane district.

Sixty-six people have died of suspected leptospirosis in Mumbai and Thane district following torrential rains and subsequent floods last month, Maharashtra Health Minister Vimaltai Mundada said in Mumbai on Thursday.

Thirty-seven cases of suspected leptospirosis were reported from Mumbai alone, while 29 were reported in the Kalyan-Dombivli municipal limits, she told reporters.

In view of the increasing cases of high fever and suspected leptospirosis, the government has declared outbreak of epidemic in these areas, the minister had said.

However, within hours of the epidemic warning, a DGIPR statement said: `This is to clarify that the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) or the (Maharashtra) state government has not declared Mumbai or any other area of the state as epidemic threatened under the appropriate Act.'

`Although there are some reports of cases of leptospirosis-like diseases in some parts of Mumbai and Kalyan-Dombivli region, the state machinery and the BMC are working day and night to provide medical help in all hospitals and keeping a total control on the situation.'

`Anybody suffering from fever is advised to take medical help from the qualified doctors. BMC has only added leptospirosis in the category of notifiable diseases, making it obligatory for the private practitioners to report such cases to the BMC authorities,' the statement added.

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A Correspondent in Mumbai