As hospitals and civic agencies get in the battle-ready mode to deal with dengue, another vector-borne disease to reckon with has surfaced in the Capital. The season’s first case of chikungunya was reported on Tuesday from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
Chikungunya is a viral infection transmitted by Aedes Aegypti mosquito — the same mosquito that causes dengue fever. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) tested 36-year-old Archana Gupta from Paharganj area positive for chikungunya on Tuesday. "We have received reports from NICD. The patient has not been admitted in the hospital, as her condition does not require admission. The precautions for dengue and chikungunya are similar are we are fumigating areas to control vector breeding,” said Dr NK Yadav, Municipal Health Officer, MCD.
Chikungunya is usually not fatal and is characterised by high fever lasting seven to 10 days, joints pain, headache, vomiting, fatigue and nausea. The infection does not have a cure and the only way to prevent it is to kill the mosquito and destroy its breeding grounds. After 2-3 days of onset of fever a rash may be noticed. Chikungunya is a self-limiting disease and rarely fatal, unlike dengue fever.
Neither dengue nor Chikungunya have specific medications and the treatment for both viral diseases is symptomatic, say experts.
"There are no vaccines and it has to be tackled with paracetamol and fluids. People should keep in mind that Aedes Aegypti is a day-biting mosquito and mosquito nets are no precaution as far as dengue or chikungunya are concerned," said Dr Bir Singh, Professor of Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences.