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Water Borne Diseases causing More Havoc in Mumbai

The receeding flood waters are causing a major health calamity in Mumbai with another 14 deaths were reported from Mumbai taking the toll in this worst affected commercial capital to 142, and 4 were from other parts of Maharashtra. // The Health authorities however are maintaining a brave and defensive stance and claim that the number of serious cases had dropped drastically.

Director General of Health Prakash B Doke, today said that experts from Defence Research Laboratories were to join the authorities in combating the outbreak of diseases in flood-affected areas.

Water borne diseases is the general term used to denote diseases associated with poor water supply or quality. In developing world countries four-fifths of all illness is caused by water-borne diseases, with diarrhoea being the leading cause of childhood death. Of the 14 major floods, which occurred globally between 1970 and 1994, floods in West Bengal led to a large cholera epidemic.

Among the various factors held responsible for water borne diseases, flooding assumes a leading role and is associated with an increased risk of infection due to significant population displacement and compromise in the water quality. It can potentially increase the transmission of the following communicable diseases:

Water-borne diseases:Typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis A

Vector-borne diseases:Malaria, dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile Fever

The major risk factor for outbreaks associated with flooding is the contamination of drinking-water facilities, and even when this happens, as in Iowa and Missouri in 1993.

The risk of outbreaks can be minimized if the risk is well recognized and disaster- response addresses the provision of clean water as a priority.

The danger of malaria is more during the monsoon season due to breeding of mosquitoes and when the water starts recee
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