Pune reported 190 respiratory illness cases in November
According to officials, the surge in hospitalisations is due to the extremely poor air quality reported in November
In November, 190 cases of acute respiratory infections (ARIs) were registered at the Pune sentinel surveillance station, which monitors health issues related to air pollution. Given the city’s extremely low air quality in November, officials reported 85 ARI cases in a month.
Pune City’s sentinel monitoring site is the Sassoon General Hospital (SGH) and BJ Medical College (BJMC).
Since April 2023, the SGH has been tracking ARI cases and hospitalisations as a surveillance site. Pune has registered 734 ARI cases and 316 hospitalisations due to ARIs in the last eight months.
According to officials, the surge in hospitalisations is due to the extremely poor air quality reported in November.
According to November data, at least eight of the ten SAFAR- IITM air quality monitoring sites in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad reported “very poor” air quality. According to sources, the average Air Quality Index (AQI) of Pune city in November was 301, far higher than pre-Diwali levels of 73.
The Public Health Department has designated 17 hospitals (medical colleges and district hospitals) as sentinel monitoring sites to monitor air pollution-related health hazards in seventeen cities.
By tracking and studying patterns of respiratory illnesses and other disorders, sentinel surveillance stations play an important role in monitoring and assessing the health impact of air pollution.
This year, in eight months, as many as 10,108 ARI cases and 4,681 hospitalisations due to ARIs were reported in the 17 sentinel centres of the State, with Mumbai recording the most at 2,506, followed by Aurangabad at 1435, Thane (1,241), Solapur (1,215) and Pune (734).
Dr Sanjay Gaikwad, head of the pulmonology department at SGH, informed that the Air quality in November was very poor which triggered the surge in ARIs and hospitalisations.
“The patients who were hospitalised were suffering from Asthma, bronchitis, and COPD. Most of the patients complained of severe symptoms and required ICU and ventilator support. Given the surge in Air pollution, the number of patients with bronchitis and asthma has significantly increased,” he said.
A senior official from the Public Health Department on anonymity said, the health department has started a ‘Clean Air, Healthy Future’ campaign to instil a sense of responsibility and promote sustainable practices for a cleaner and healthier environment.
“The Nodal officers at the district level have been asked to take action to prevent and control the health issues likely to arise due to poor air pollution. The capacity building of healthcare facilities and strengthening of surveillance and monitoring is carried out in each district as per the ARIs cases,” the official said.