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Kolkata: An outbreak of viral fever and gastrointestinal illness, with symptoms like mild stomach upset that often worsens into diarrhoea, has affected scores of people across Kolkata over the past one week, say doctors and hospitals. A few cases of severe typhoid have also been reported, which doctors say is unusual at this time of the year. Since the disease coincided with the onset of monsoon in the city, the outbreak may worsen and spread faster in the next two weeks, experts fear. The number of patients at risk of fever-related stomach infections has increased by at least 10-15% in the last four days, say some city clinics and hospitals. Seasonal changes during the onset of monsoon often lead to a rise in viral fever and stomach disorders, says Chand Bhargava, medical consultant, Apollo Clinic Mukundapur, who has observed a 10% rise in such patients. “Till now, we were seeing an average of three patients a week, but recently this number has increased by 10%,” said Bhargava. Charnock Hospital has registered a “significant rise” in patients with stomach and gastrointestinal diseases. “Symptoms range from mild stomach discomfort to severe gastroenteritis. This rise can be attributed to various factors, including change in eating habits, increased consumption of contaminated food or water, and seasonal variations,” said Jayanta Paul, a gastroenterologist at Charnock Hospital. He added that it is important to ensure properly prepared food and hygienic water. Manipal Hospitals too have seen an increase in the number of patients seeking treatment for stomach viruses and fever, including some cases of severe typhoid. “While both gastrointestinal diseases and typhoid cases increase around the time of monsoon, typhoid has struck earlier this time. “We have admitted some very severe cases that usually affect dengue patients,” said Sayan Chakrabarty, an infectious diseases doctor in Manipal. “Viruses like rotavirus and norovirus strike at the onset of monsoon, leading to a surge in viral infections and gastrointestinal problems,” said Chakrabarty. Peerless Hospital has admitted several patients with bacteria who developed high fever with diarrhea and dysentery within two weeks. “At least seven to eight cases of typhoid have been detected, some of them very severe. Typhoid or typhus is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. Pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli (E-coli) have also been detected, along with a few cases of Shigella. In several cases with gastrointestinal symptoms, we have also found Campylobacter jejuni and Vibrio cholerae (causes cholera),” said microbiologist Bhaskar Narayan Chaudhuri of Peerless. Medica has observed a 10-15% increase in gastrointestinal cases in both outpatient and admissions departments. According to Subhadip Laskar, Consultant Gastroenterologist, ILS Hospitals Howrah has seen an increase in Hepatitis A and E cases.

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