Chikungunya, a rare form of viral fever, has taken the form of an epidemic in the country as thousands of people are reportedly infected with its virus in eight states, an official said on Friday.
"The spread is of unprecedented magnitude. There is no case of Chikungunya reported from the northern states like Delhi, Haryana, Punjab etc. However, except for Kerala in the southern India, other states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh besides Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan were reeling under the onslaught of the epidemic since December 2005," National Institute of Virology Director AC Mishra said in Pune.
Over 15,000 samples from the country had come to the NIV, which is the only institute having facilities to diagnose such diseases, and many from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan had tested positive for Chikungunya, he said.
The disease is caused by Chikungunya virus transmitted by aedes aegypti mosquito, he said.
Mishra said though the disease is not serious and an infected person normally recovers within a week's time, yet Chikungunya can create many kind of complications.
Meanwhile, a high-level meeting was held in Pune, which discussed the prevalence of Chikungunya in the state.
The meeting was attended by Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar, Public Health Minister Vimala Mundala, Woman and Child Development Minister Harshvardhan Patil and Higher Education Minister Dilip Walse Patil.