A 54-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar died on Wednesday in the Capital’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) of multi-organ failure from chikungunya-related complications, taking the death toll in Delhi to 11.
“He was brought to AIIMS with many complications. He had a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a long-term inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow and makes it difficult to breathe. He also had sepsis and septic shock as a result of complications of an infection. He finally died of multi-organ failure,” a senior doctor said.
“He had a report from a private laboratory showing that he had chikungunya, but we do not know what was the ultimate cause of death,” he added.
The central as well as the state government, which are facing flak for passing the blame and responsibility, have said the viral disease spread to humans by infected mosquitoes is not fatal.
Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain even accused the media of creating panic.
“Please don’t spread panic. Prove it medically (death due to Chikungunya). Medically Chikungunya can never b cause of anyone’s death,” he said.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that chikungunya outbreaks have caused death across the world. “Serious complications are not common, but in older people, the disease can contribute to the causes of death,” the WHO says on its chikungunya factsheet.
The first death caused by health complications triggered by chikungunya was that of a 22-year-old woman on September 1 at Bara Hindu Rao Hospital.
At least five people died of chikungunya over the last three weeks at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. One of the deceased, a 31-year-old man, tested positive for both chikungunya and dengue, which are spread by the bite of the same mosquito — Aedes aegypti.
Four deaths have also been reported at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Only one of the deceased was from Delhi.
Delhi heath minister Jain has ordered an inquiry into the four deaths at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, insinuating that private hospitals were mishandling chikungunya cases.
Union health minister JP Nadda has also sought a report on the health crisis that has gripped the Capital, which is battling one of its worst outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.