Mumbai:(The Hindu): Rumours of five teenagers dying with similar symptoms at a civic-run hospital in Mira Road sparked fear of a suspected epidemic in Mira Bhayander.
Officials of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC), however, clarified that only two boys had died with similar symptoms, while the other three were different cases.
The rumours began doing the rounds on Facebook and WhatsApp on Wednesday morning, claiming that five young boys admitted to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Hospital, had died after showing symptoms like shivering, low blood pressure, and vomiting blood.
The messages went viral within the hour, and corporators rushed to the hospital, while residents started gathering.
The local Maharashtra Navnirman Sena unit staged a protest at the hospital and met civic officials.
Sambhaji Panpatte, deputy municipal commissioner, MBMC, said they had two cases — one on July 29 and the other on July 31 — where the boys aged 14 and 15 were admitted with a hazardously low platelet count and died while under treatment.
“The other three cases, which were received last week, were due to different reasons, with one of them being an accidental death. However, some elements have attempted to create rumours by clubbing all the incidents together,” Dr. Panpatte said.
In both the cases, the MBMC has preserved blood samples of the deceased, which are being analysed. The civic authorities are also conducting inquiries to find out whether there are any links between the two deaths, like whether the teens stayed or worked in the same area, or whether they ate at the same place.
“We observed negligence on part of the families, in the sense that they did not provide timely medical aid. If even routine tests had been conducted early, the falling platelet count would have been detected,” Dr. Panpatte said.
He said the MBMC is issuing advisories to residents, urging them to conduct medical tests even if a normal fever is detected, so that such instances can be avoided.
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