Chikungunya web expands in capital like never before | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Chikungunya web expands in capital like never before

Number of confirmed cases on a five-year high; spread to other parts in city.

delhi Updated: Nov 24, 2010 00:52 IST
Rhythma Kaul

"Almost the entire colony is on painkillers," said Usha Chauhan (48) of Vinobha Puri area in Lajpat Nagar-II.

Chauhan's two children are in the grip of Chikungunya, a disease that affects many in south India every year but had little presence in Delhi so far.

"In every family from our colony, which has at least 200 families, someone or the other is suffering from the disease. There are some families in which everyone has it," Chauhan added.

With 65 confirmed cases, the number of Chikungunya cases has gone up six-fold over last year's figure in the Capital. Doctors said symptoms of joint pain, accompanied with fever, indicate the numbers are much higher, with few people going for a confirmatory blood test.

Local transmission of the infection has begun, with only one of the affected persons having travelled to south India, where the outbreak happens each year.

"We never expected Chikungunya to be this big. All of north India has been affected for the first time. In Delhi, the infection that was initially restricted in and around Palam village is now being detected from other parts of the city as well," said Dr VK Monga, chairperson, public health committee, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

Several residents of Lajpat Nagar, especially Part-II, are affected by the painful disease. Bharoti Roy (50) has been taking two painkillers a day for over a month for the excruciating joint pain she developed after the fever. She tested positive for chikungunya two months ago but the swelling in the joints of her hands, arms, feet and leg continues.

"To be able to hold even a toothbrush in the morning, I need to soak my hands in

warm water for at least 20 minutes. It's been two months but the pain is still unbearable. I was advised painkiller for just 10 days but I still take it," she said.

According to health experts, severe joint pain is the primary symptom of chikungunya, which in severe cases may last even up to a year.

"The disease mostly affects the knees, apart from having an effect on wrists, ankles, shoulders, etc. Middle-aged and the elderly are the worst affected," said Dr Rajesh Malhotra, professor, department of orthopaedic surgery at AIIMS. All about the disease