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Viral fever-hit Delhi goes on sick leave

A peculiar strain of viral infection is keeping thousands of people at home in the capital, reports Vidya Krishnan.
Hindustan Times | By Vidya Krishnan
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2008 12:37 AM IST

Doctors said every third patient in Delhi had viral fever and the increase in the number of cases was up to ten folds. The best way to battle the infection is to avoid antibiotics wait out the fever, they said.

“Usually with viral fever, patients do not experience chills and rigours. The symptoms here are similar to malaria. Since serology tests are not done for viral infection, it is difficult to say what is causing this kind of fever,” said Dr HS Heera, professor of medicine at the government-run Lok Nayak Hospital.

If you know someone down with the infection, chances of you getting struck are four to five times higher. “Everyone in my family is down with viral; same in office. Many colleagues have not turned up at work for over a week,” said Sameer Chopra, CEO of a Gurgaon-based IT firm.

Doctors blame crowded places like offices, classrooms and buses for the easy spread of the infection. “A change of season always predisposes a person towards viral infections. The body takes some time to get acclimatised and during this time, viruses attack,” said Dr Bir Singh of AIIMS.

“Plus it is easy to catch an infection when in crowded places like classrooms, theatres and buses,” said Dr Bir Singh, professor of community medicine at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The only way to avoid a viral infection is to eat healthy, drink plenty of fluids and stay away from infected persons, say experts. “The patients must not rush to office or school without having completely recovered from the illness. They must rest for four to five days, as the infection is self-limiting and consult a doctor if the temperature lasts for more than a week,” Heera said.

Recovering from a viral infection does not require any special treatment, he added. “Anti fever drugs are enough for curing viral. Doctors can only provide symptomatic relief but rest is the only medication,” added Dr Singh.

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