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  Treat leptospirosis as epidemic: Bombay HC to BMC

Treat leptospirosis as epidemic: Bombay HC to BMC

Published : Oct 6, 2016, 3:22 am IST
Updated : Oct 6, 2016, 3:22 am IST

The Bombay high court asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Wednesday to consider leptospirosis as an epidemic-causing disease and take steps on a war-footing basis to curb the spread of the

The Bombay high court asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Wednesday to consider leptospirosis as an epidemic-causing disease and take steps on a war-footing basis to curb the spread of the disease, which has claimed 35 lives in Mumbai alone in the last three years.

A division bench of Justices V.M. Kanade and S.S. Joshi was hearing a public interest litigation filled by corporator Dhananjay Pisal, who had sought that the court direct the state government and civic body to take immediate steps to curb the menace of vector- and water-borne diseases. The court observed that nowadays such diseases are taking on serious proportions.

Justice Kanade observed that in the past, even diseases like smallpox and polio used to cause numerous deaths. However, the consolidated steps taken by the government and municipality had resulted in the total eradication of these diseases. Similarly, diseases like leptospirosis, dengue and chikungunea could be brought under control, but for that the municipality should have a planned strategy. The municipal commissioner should form a committee, including members of the standing committee and some experts, to draw out an action plan to address this problem.

“BMC doctors used to go to schools and vaccinate children, thus eradicating small pox and polio as well,” Justice Kanade said.

Advocate Umesh Mohite, the counsel for Mr Pisal, further pointed out to the court that the state government had given certain directions to the BMC in order to curb communicable diseases. The directions included forming rapid action teams that would respond to the cases through control rooms, thus negating the fatal effects of the said diseases. However, the BMC had not seemed to have done much in this regard, advocate Mohite said.

As per the information provided by the state in its affidavit in 2014, there were 88 cases in Mumbai of leptospirosis, of whom six died. In 2015, there were 61 cases recorded in Mumbai during the monsoon, leading to 20 people dying.

This year so far, there have been more than 180 cases and nine deaths. Justice Kanade instructed the corporation to act on a war-footing basis.