Chikungunya, the rising menace in city
Additionally, a total of 188 blood samples have been tested positive for this mosquito-borne disease in the last one-and-a-half months at the country’s premier health institute AIIMS indicating a sudden outbreak of cases.
Delhi Health minister Satyendar Jain said: “Our Mohalla Clinics are equipped to tackle Chikungunya and dengue cases. People panic and get themselves admitted to hospitals after getting high fever, suspecting dengue. But last year, we found many of these patients did not have dengue. So, we urge the citizens to take precautions, keep themselves hydrated and not panic at all,” said Jain.
Health experts claimed that the sudden outbreak may be due to a possible evolution of the virus that carries this disease and change in weather factors like humidity. “The rise in the cases this year could be because of chikungunya virus showing some evolution compared to last year and weather conditions proving conducive conditions for its growth. In this case, what we call the ‘incubation period’, the time it takes for the virus to develop the disease syndromes after it enters a patient following a mosquito bite, may have been reduced, resulting in a spike in the number of cases. In case of dengue, the incubation period is longer compared to chikungunya,” said National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) Director, Dr A C Dhariwal.
Dr Dhariwal and other health experts acknowledged the sudden spike in Chikungunya cases but appealed to the people not to panic. “Number of cases of Chikungunya testing positive in AIIMS lab itself shows the situation and even in case of dengue, I would say, people should not panic,” he added.
According to AIIMS, from July 1 to August 10, the health institute had tested 325 blood samples in its labs, out of which 188 were found positive for chikungunya. Though hospitals have reported large number of chikungunya cases, the Municipal Corporations, that compile records of patients, had reported only 20 cases till August 20. As per the Municipal report released on Monday, a maximum of 13 cases of Chikungunya were reported from South Delhi Municipal Corporation. North Delhi Municipal Corporation has reported two cases, East Delhi Municipal Corporation one while New Delhi Municipal Council has reported four cases.
Typical Chikungunya symptoms include high fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain and headache, joint swelling, or rashes. But it is not as dangerous as dengue in which there is a risk of bleeding. “In Chikungunya, the joint pain is more than in dengue cases,” said Dr Ashutosh Biswas of AIIMS.