The death toll from chikungunya in New Delhi mounted to seven on Wednesday after two more people – both men – died of complications related to the disease at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.
One of the men died on Tuesday night and the second on Wednesday morning. Both patients were referred to Apollo in a critical condition and were being treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Chikungunya is a viral disease spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain that can last from days to weeks. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. It is rarely fatal.
“Medically, there are no deaths due to chikungunya but media is showing deaths due to this disease. I want to make it clear that chikungunya is not fatal,” Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said.
Insinuating that private hospitals were mishandling chikungunya cases, Jain has ordered an inquiry into the four deaths at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
“4 Deaths due to Chikangunia reported from one pvt hospital (Ganga Ram). No death in any Delhi govt hospital. Enquiry ordered (sic),” Jain also tweeted.
“Chikungunya can cause complications in older people and those with existing conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension etc, leading to sepsis and multiorgan failure,” Dr SP Byotra, head of the department of medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said.
Leaders of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party are facing flak for abandoning Delhi during its biggest chikungunya outbreak.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is in Bengaluru for a throat surgery, shrugged off the charges saying Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung is also away.