Now acute gastroenteritis surfaces in east Bengaluru

90 patients admitted in State-run Epidemic Diseases Hospital

Amidst fears of COVID-19, Bengaluru has now reported an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis (GE) and at least 90 patients — including 10 children — have been admitted in the State-run Epidemic Diseases Hospital on Old Madras Road in the last one week.

Almost all the cases are from low-lying slums in east Bengaluru, mainly from Marathahalli, K.R. Puram, Mahadevapura, Electronics City, HAL, Vijinapura and surrounding areas.

GE is most often caused due to infection by bacteria such as E. coli and Vibrio cholerae or by certain viruses and parasites such as Giardia. Although sporadic cases were being reported from the first week of February, there has been a sudden spurt in the last 10 days and the hospital is seeing nearly 40 outpatients every day, of whom at least eight require admission. The outbreak, even before the onset of peak summer, has baffled doctors who are seeing such an outbreak after six years.

The hospital, which has a designated isolation ward for COVID-19 cases, is already seeing a rush of patients anxious to test themselves for the coronavirus. With people also flocking to the hospital with acute GE, doctors and paramedical staff are on their toes.

Hospital Medical Superintendent Ansar Ahmed, who is also the Bengaluru District Surgeon, told The Hindu that although a few stool samples of the patients tested positive for cholera in the hanging drop test, done for the presumptive identification of Vibrio cholerae, they tested negative after a cholera culture was done.

“Although it is not cholera, we have geared up to deal with the situation as the numbers may swell in the coming days. We are monitoring the situation round the clock, and are maintaining utmost hygiene in the hospital to avoid cross infections,” he said.

Suspecting that the outbreak may be due to water contamination, the doctor said food poisoning is also a concern in this season owing to contamination of food with salmonella, shigella, E-coli, rota virus, and entamoeba histolytica.

“In cases of acute gastroenteritis, if patients are not given adequate fluids and rehydrated immediately, there are chances of renal failure,” the doctor explained.

People should avoid roadside food and cut-fruits. The best way to keep these diseases under check is to consume properly and freshly cooked food and boiled and cooled water, the doctor advised.

People should be careful about water contamination as there is a possibility of sewage getting mixed with drinking water in low-lying areas, especially during summer and rainy season, he added.

B.G. Prakash, State Joint Director (Communicable Diseases), said no such outbreak has been reported from elsewhere in the State.

Some confirmed cholera cases

A few confirmed cases of cholera have been reported from at least three private hospitals in the city in the last one month, said sources in the State surveillance unit.

“We have reports from St. John’s Medical College Hospital, Manipal Hospital and Baptist Hospital about confirmed cases of cholera. We have asked the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to take up testing of water samples in the areas from where cases have been reported,” a senior official said quoting anonymity.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 3:37:43 PM |

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