The number of cases of mosquito-borne infection Chikungunya is increasing rapidly in the city, doctors said.
No official data was available on the number of cases but private hospitals have reported that they are getting over 50 cases of the infection daily.
Chikungunya is a viral illness and its symptoms are similar to those of dengue, which include high-grade fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain and headache and joint swelling. There is no specific treatment for Chikungunya. Supportive therapy which helps ease symptoms such as administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and getting plenty of rest may be beneficial.
Officials said unlike dengue it is not mandatory for doctors and hospitals to immediately report every case of Chikungunya and hence, the lack of data.
Till July 31, no cases of Chikungunya were registered with the district health department. Private hospitals and practitioners take time to compile the data and can send it over a week or send the combined figures at the end of the month.
Dr Sushila Kataria, associate director, Internal Medicine, Medanta – The Medicity, said, “Suspected cases of Chickungunya are on a five-year high. We are receiving over 50 cases every day with symptoms similar to Chickungunya in the OPD. Of these, 10-15 people who complain of severe ache are being admitted daily.”
Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) also reported cases.
“Chikungunya is a vector-borne disease, in which the virus is passed to the human through aedes aegypti mosquito. A large number of patients are coming with typically high grade fever accompanied by severe body ache and characterised by severe joint pains. Some patients have also developed rashes over their body,” Dr Amitabh Parthi, additional director, internal medicine, FMRI said.
Dr Ila Samar, senior consultant, internal medicine, W Pratiksha Hospital, explained the difference between Dengue and Chikungunya.
“Dengue fever is usually associated with severe headache, eye pain, severe muscle pain whereas Chikungunya fever is usually associated with less intense headache and more severe joint pain, particularly small joints of hand and feet. Joint pain in Chikungunya fever may last even for months,” said Samar.
The health department has capped the diagnostic test for dengue at Rs 600 but the same does not apply to Chikungunya. The price of a PCR test can vary from Rs 800 -Rs 4,500.
At the Civil Hospital, officials are reporting nearly 20 suspected cases daily. However, officials said there was no need for panic.
“Chikungunya is less fatal than Dengue so even if the number of cases is rising, people should not be alarmed,” Ramesh Dhankhar, CMO, Civil Hospital, said.