60 chikungunya cases in Chandigarh ahead of mosquito season
Chikungunya, a potentially deadly disease, had spread in the city last year when at least 221 cases were reported.punjab Updated: Jun 15, 2017 13:54 IST
The mosquito breeding season is yet to begin, but Chandigarh has already reported 60 cases of chikungunya, 12 dengue and 15 malaria, so far. According to union territory (UT) health officials, these are old cases, which are showing the symptoms now. Last year at least 221 cases of chikungunya, a potentially deadly disease, were reported in the city.
Dr Gaurav Aggarwal, anti-malaria officer, said, “The digitised records of the UT’s health department from 1990 onwards showed that there was not even a single case of chikungunya in Chandigarh till 2011.”
In 2016, cases started appearing in September, which is also the breeding time of Aedes mosquito . But, this year, people have started showing up symptoms of chikungunya three-four months in advance.
As per the data provided by the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), the institute has received 138 cases of chikungunya, out of which 60 were from Chandigarh, 49 from Punjab and rest from other states. There were 25 cases of dengue, out of which 8 were from the Chandigarh. However, the data provided by UT health officials is in variance with that of the PGI.
Dr Aggarwal said that the city has recorded only 49 cases of chikungunya, in contrast to the 60 cases reported by the PGI and ,added that , “We have 49 chikungunya cases, 15 malaria and 12 dengue in the city so far this year.”
He said all these are old cases. On April 26, Dr Gaurav Aggarwal had informed that there is only one case of malaria, but the number increased to 15 by June 13. “In chikungunya, a person may get fever and joint pains. While fever can last for 24-48 hours, joint pain may persist for months to years. So, these are those patients who were infected earlier, but are visiting hospitals for joint pain.” He said that antibodies to the chikungunya virus can be detected at least 6 months post-infection. Chikungunya and dengue are caused by Aedes mosquito and malaria by Anopheles.
“While the breeding season of Aedes mosquito is September, but we get cases from September to January. The breeding season of Anopheles is July, and we start getting malaria cases from June to September,” said Dr Gaurav.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT INITIATIVES
“Our focus is on spreading awareness among the public. We have already issued letters to heads of departments of the UT and principals of schools and colleges to keep a check on mosquito breeding sites. Apart from this, from July 1, we will start a house-to-house survey to check such sites. One survey is already going on to educate people about mosquito- borne diseases,” said Dr Gaurav Aggarwal.
“Chikungunya symptoms can last for several months and in dengue, symptoms continue for a few weeks. Chikungunya cases can be old and one can check that by looking the level of antigens. This is not the case with dengue. Dengue cases occur throughout the year, but its number rises during September- October,” said a senior doctor from internal medicine, PGIMER.