Fresh chikungunya cases dropped for the first time this year in the week ending October 8, with 1,419 new cases taking the total number to 6,712.
Last week, new cases peaked at 1,598 of them being registered in a single week, a 43% increase over the previous week, shows data from the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD).
Delhi faced its biggest ever chikungunya outbreak this year. Spread by mosquitoes, the viral infection causes high fever, joint swelling and pain (lower back, ankle, knees, wrists or fingers), rash, headache, nausea and fatigue.
Unlike dengue that can infect more than once, chikungunya gives immunity for life. The infected are unlikely to catch it again.
Dengue cases are going up, with MCD confirming 578 new cases, taking the total cases to 2,711. More than 10,683 dengue cases were reported during the same period last year, when Delhi witnessed its worst ever dengue outbreak that affected 16,000 and killed 60.
MCD confirmed four dengue deaths, but HT confirmed 25 deaths, including nine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and five at Safdarjung.
Experts confirm chikungunya infection is waning. “The numbers started falling two weeks ago and have remained low since then, but infections spread by mosquitoes will end only when the temperature drops below 16 degrees centigrade for a week or more,” said Dr Srikant Sharma, senior consulting physician in Moolchand Hospital.
Next week’s data is expected to reflect a sharper dip. “People who visit fever clinics with chikungunya are called back after eight days for a confirmatory test, so those who test positive make it to the MCD report 10 days to two weeks after they get infection,” said Dr DK Seth, director, hospital administration, north corporation.
The disease is rarely fatal, but HT confirmed 20 chikungunya-related deaths based on hospital records. Delhi government, however, reviewed 13 deaths and said none of them died due to chikungunya.