There has been a 78.75 per cent surge in the number of chikungunya cases in the last four years across Maharashtra. According to the statistics, there were 1,026 chikungunya cases in 2018 which has now increased to 1,834 this year until October 13. However, in the years 2019 and 2020, the number of cases were 298 and 782 respectively.
State health officials have attributed this surge to the unprecedented rains due to which water accumulation has taken place in urban areas and other parts of the state. Moreover, according to experts, the biggest reason for this is the prolonged rains, apart from this, there has been a lack of activity that the administration should show in controlling it.
State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradeep Awte said that the data clearly shows that there has been an increase in the cases of dengue and chikungunya. Long period of rains is one of the reasons, but we cannot shirk this excuse. This problem is controlled to a great extent by the coordination of both the administration and the public. People should pay attention to cleanliness, not water. Cooperate with the administration and get tested immediately if you have symptoms of the disease.
Data from Metropolis Lab showed an increasing trend of chikungunya in the city over the last three months. In July, 239 out of 790 samples (tested using three methods) were positive. The number rose to 564 out of 1,943 samples in August. Till September 19, there were 510 positives out of 1,749 test samples.
Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital said they have been treating a steady stream of patients with complaints of fever, rashes, headache and nausea. The most defining symptom of chikungunya is acute pain in the joints that can last up to a year in older people. “The patients come with very high fever and severe joint pain due to which they are not able to move. Moreover, most of the symptoms of chikungunya are similar to COVID-19 and Dengue. Meanwhile, there is a spike this year compared to the previous two years,” said Dr Ingale.
Intermittent rains and favourable climatic conditions were among the reasons for the rise in chikungunya cases this year. In urban pockets there are several constructions where water-logging is proving to be a breeding site for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which causes dengue and chikungunya.
Bombay Hospital physician Dr Gautam Bhansali has six patients admitted for chikungunya. “These patients have high fever along with other aches and pain. A few with falling WBC count need hospitalisation,” he said.
Dr Tushar Rane, Internal medicine expert, Apollo spectra Mumbai said to prevent chikungunya, protect yourself from mosquito bites. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved clothes, avoid water stagnation at the house or near the surroundings. Keep your home clean, fogging should be done from time to time to prevent mosquito breeding. Do not ignore symptoms like muscle pain, joint swelling or rashes. Drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration. “In the last couple of months I have seen 1 Diagnosed case and 2 suspected cases of chikungunya, all 3 soon recovered with appropriate treatment,” he said.
A civic official said there is no alarming rise. “We are taking a lot of steps to curb the spread of dengue and it’s the same vector that causes chikungunya,” said the official.
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