Press Release: July 17, 2020
It's the monsoon season in India, which brings relief from the blazing summer heat when it arrives but the advent of monsoon also increases the risk of contracting some diseases. These seasonal diseases will put tremendous pressure on already over-burdened health care institutions, reeling under the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of COVID-19 menace, it is important to understand the nature of these diseases and their prevention.
Common Symptoms seen in common Monsoon related illnesses and COVID-19
Fever, chills, sweating, headache, muscle pain, and nausea. Severe cases may exhibit symptoms such as jaundice, convulsions, and coma especially in infection with Falciparum malaria. The symptoms may repeat every 48 – 72 hours with asymptomatic intervals
Fever, headaches, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea, rash, and fatigue
Fever, severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness of the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, hemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash
Fever, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and constipation or sometimes diarrhea and weakness
Fever, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and weakness
Fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine, and jaundice
Fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and a runny nose
Fever, tiredness, dry cough, and in some patients, shortness of breath. Other symptoms include aches and pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste/smell, a rash on the skin, discoloration of fingers/toes
It is not necessary that each symptom listed above is present in all the patients. This similar nature of many symptoms makes the diagnosis of fever difficult from case to case. Precautions against COVID-19 and Monsoon related illnesses need to be more intensive and taken into serious consideration due to various changes faced by all concerned.
Challenges in COVID-19 era in Management of Monsoon Related Diseases
In any infectious and monsoon related diseases, fever is the most common symptom. In the current COVID-19 scenario, diagnosis for fever will always be a challenge with the whole focus on coronavirus. A test for COVID-19 may be ordered for every fever case thus leading to a waste of precious resources and time. Additionally, the investigations and treatment of other treatable diseases like malaria, typhoid, or gastroenteritis may also get delayed.
Some of the cases of gastroenteritis, typhoid, leptospirosis, dengue, and malaria may need hospital admission but may be difficult due to the paucity of general and ICU beds.
Mosquito control remains the most important public health measure to prevent Malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses. As per World Health Organization (WHO) study, the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreaks in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone undermined malaria control efforts and led to a massive increase in malaria-related illness and death in these countries.
Due to this experience of the Ebola outbreak in Malaria-endemic regions, WHO strongly encourages countries not to suspend the planning for or implementation of mosquito control activities, while ensuring these services are delivered using best practices to protect health workers and communities from COVID-19 infection. India has been historically known for Malaria Endemic and should continue to build awareness and implement precaution measures for Malaria.
Prevention of Monsoon Related Diseases
In view of all the above, it is of utmost importance that people should take precautions as follows: