Monsoon Fever: Causes, Prevention, Diagnosis

Monsoon brings not just rains but also diseases that can cause fever. Get to know more about monsoon fever.

What do you like about monsoon season? The pleasant weather, greenery, romantic rainy days, the rainbow, and the list goes on. Agree, monsoon is a beautiful season. But rains also bring along a host of health risks. Incessant rains, waterlogging, flood, water and food contamination, mosquitoes are also common during the monsoon season. All these can increase the risk of diseases that can cause fever, also known as 'monsoon fever'.

We connected with Dr. Vishal Wadhwa, Head Scientific Affairs, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, to learn more monsoon fever, including causes, prevention, and diagnosis. Read on -

What isMonsoon Fever?

Monsoon which prevails in India from June to September as south-west monsoon and from October to December as the north-east or retreating monsoon brings not just rains but also 'monsoon fever'.

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Monsoon fever includes infections which occur in significantly higher numbers during the monsoon season. Reasons for this upswing in the incidence rate during monsoon season are an increase in population of mosquitoes and contamination of water & food supplies. In other words, all diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and contaminated food stand a chance to get transmitted and cause infections which may sometimes result in a pandemic.

These include dengue, malaria, chikungunya, typhoid, West Nile Fever, zika virus infection, leptospirosis and gastroenteritis.

As per Metropolis Health Care Ltd. (MHL) data, the infection rates of these diseases start to rise from July and touches basal rate by January or February.

Apart from fever, what are the common symptoms of monsoon infections?

Bugs transmitted by bite of a mosquito cause the highest incidence i.e., dengue, malaria, chikungunya, West Nile Fever and zika virus. These infections have overlapping symptoms of fever, rash, body pains and can be confused with each other especially when there is a rare mixed infection. Among the above diseases, it is dengue and chikungunya which take the largest share (as per MHL data).

Dengue, malaria, West Nile Fever and zika virus can cause potentially fatal illness and need to be diagnosed on time so that complications are predicted and appropriately addressed.

What tests are done to diagnose monsoon diseases?

Laboratories have expanded their menu and can diagnose these cases with accuracy through a range of tests which include peripheral blood smear examination for malarial parasite to polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Fever panels in form of multiplex PCR are also available which in a single blood sample can detect minutest amount of DNA/ RNA of the following bacterial diseases typhoid, rickettesial infection and leptospirosis; and the following viruses: dengue virus, chikungunya virus, West Nile Virus, zika virus.

Can we prevent monsoon diseases, if yes - how?

Monsoon diseases are preventable to an extent and one can contribute towards a larger social cause by following few simple rules that will help break the chain of transmission. These are:

  • Keep your home and surroundings free from mosquitoes (do not let water stand in open places around you).
  • Wear full-sleeved clothes, use mosquito repellents.
  • Drink boiled/ bottled water and sanitized food.

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