Chicken pox strikes,six cases detected

Chicken pox proved to be fatal for two teenaged brothers of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony in Industrial Area,Phase VII,Mohali,after they reportedly succumbed to the disease within a span of two days.

Written by Express News Service | Mohali | Published: January 20, 2009 12:35 am

Chicken pox proved to be fatal for two teenaged brothers of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony in Industrial Area,Phase VII,Mohali,after they reportedly succumbed to the disease within a span of two days. Fourteen-year-old Ram Raj fell prey to the disease on Sunday,two days after his brother Roop Raj had died of similar complications.

After their migrant father passed away 5 years ago,16-year-old Roop Raj and his brother Ram Raj undertook petty jobs as daily wage labourers. They are survived by their mother and three younger siblings. Their mother,Guddi,works as a domestic help.

Roop Raj complained of the symptoms of chicken pox around New Year following which he was taken to a local quack. When his condition started deteriorating further,he was taken to Civil Hospital in Phase VI on January 12.

Civil Surgeon Dr Avtar Singh told Newsline that Roop was examined at the Skin OPD in Civil Hospital on January 12. “Our skin specialist prescribed certain medicines but the patient failed to take them. On returning home,he was again given medicines prescribed by the quack,” claimed Dr Singh.

Roop’s condition,however,continued to deteriorate and he died on January 16. Unfortunately before his death,younger brother Ram also started showing similar symptoms. Two days after Roop’s death,Ram also succumbed to the disease on Sunday.

Taking note of the twin deaths,a rapid response team comprising four specialist doctors,visited the slum on Monday. With overflowing drains,heaps of garbage and shallow handpumps giving impure water,almost 1,000 residents in the colony are living in unhygienic conditions.

The civil surgeon said that during a survey of the colony,six more cases of chicken pox were found but he claimed that all these cases were in the recovery phase.

“Chicken pox is an air-borne disease but not fatal,” revealed Dr Singh,while refusing to confirm the cause of the twin deaths. “Since no autopsy examination was conducted,the cause of the deaths remains unconfirmed,” he reasoned.

Meanwhile,colony president Rakesh Kumar and residents Subkaran Singh,Ajit,Balwant and Kamlesh rued about the lack of basic amenities in the area. “Every time there is a tragedy,officials visit our area but nothing happens thereafter,” they alleged while demanding immediate cleanliness arrangements and supply of clean potable water to prevent any further loss of life.

‘Secondary infections during chicken pox can prove fatal’
With chicken pox claiming two lives recently,concerns regarding the infection catching up even in the winter season have caught up among the residents. The UT Health department,however,says that though the chicken pox virus spreads mainly in spring due to the prevailing humid conditions,cases are reported round the year. Children are more susceptible to the highly-contagious infection owing to lower immunity levels. “Around 20 cases of chicken pox were reported in Chandigarh in the months of November and December. The figures for the current month of January are being compiled. The number of cases does drop considerably in winters but sporadic cases of the infection are reported in clinics. Bulk of the cases is received in months of April,May and June,” said a senior functionary of the Health department. Chicken pox had achieved almost epidemic proportions in the region in the summer months with areas in and around Delhi reporting over 2,500 cases. The city had reported over 800 cases of chicken pox till July last year,which was considerably higher than previous years. Doctors,meanwhile,say that fatalities are rare in chicken pox patients and death could occur if no treatment has been initiated and only if secondary infections have developed. “If treatment is given in time,there is little chance that the infection will become fatal. However,we still come across families who believe more in quacks for providing relief. In such a scenario,secondary infections can develop which can prove detrimental,” added a UT doctor.

SYMPTOMS: Appearance of blisters and rashes,body ache,high fever ranging from 100 to 105 degree C and sore throat. Blisters could be filled with water in some cases.

TREATMENT: The incubation period of the disease is 14 to 21 days. In males above 13 years,complications can result in inflammation of the testes that may lead to sterility. The patient must be kept in complete isolation until the blisters dry up. If diagnosed early,the disease can be controlled to a large extent. Those who get chickenpox develop an immunity against the virus.

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