Dengue-chikungunya double infections make Delhi’s viral outbreak deadlier
Doctors have reported a double whammy in the Capital and its satellite cities —a twin infection of chikungunya and dengue together, which is difficult to treat.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is treating 112 people for chikungunya, 11 of whom have dengue as well.
Co-infections are usually rare, but not this year.
“I’ve treated two or three cases where people had both dengue and chikungunya, and also people with typhoid or other infections with chikungunya,” said Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant of internal medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said on Monday.
A 28-year-old staff nurse, Pema, at Indraprastha Apollo was hospitalised with chikungunya in the first week of September and got dengue in the second.
Similarly, Gurgaon Sector-17 resident Reena D Singh was diagnosed with both infections caused by the aedes aegypti mosquito last week. The 42-year-old is still too weak to leave bed.
Chikungunya, an illness that causes high fever and joint pain, is less deadly. Dengue symptoms are similar but the disease causes severe complications and sudden death from uncontrolled bleeding.
Treating both together can be tricky.
“In cases of twin infections, the complications will most likely be due to dengue. Paracetamol should be the drug of choice and stronger painkillers should be prescribed to ease severe joint pain related to chikungunya only if dengue has been ruled out as they can aggravate bleeding,” said Dr S K Sharma, the head of medicine at AIIMS.
The number of chikungunya cases reached 3,695 in the Capital, data released by municipal corporations showed. There are 1,692 dengue cases so far.
“Some people are getting infected with both diseases at the same time because the aedes aegypti mosquitoes are spreading both viruses. But given the size of the chikungunya outbreak, the lower rate of dengue cases has kept co-infections comparatively low,” said Dr Lalit Dar, a professor of microbiology at AIIMS.
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