Delhi continues to struggle as mosquito-borne diseases — chikungunya and dengue — have hit the national capital with a total of 1,331 cases being reported this season. According to the latest MCD figures, Delhi has recorded 771 cases of dengue and 560 cases of chikungunya till September 3, with peaking numbers of 284 cases of dengue and 137 cases of chikungunya in just on week. Four people have succumbed due to dengue fever so far.
There were 423 cases of chikungunya as on August 27, stated a report collated for the city by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the nodal agency for maintaining a record of dengue and chikungunya cases.
Chikungunya which was not a big worry in the past years, has now struck Delhi strongly this time. But doctors say the good news is that the current year’s variant is actually curing much faster than in other years, when it would sometimes take months for the body ache to go away.
Cause and symptoms
Chikungunya and dengue are caused by the females of the same two species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, primarily the first. The symptoms of both fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, and rash. Because symptoms are near identical, clinical diagnosis is needed to differentiate between the two. Tests can detect the dengue virus or chikungunya virus in the blood in the first few days of infection, or antibodies against the viruses subsequently.
Dengue kills a number of people while chikungunya has a very low mortality rate and patients usually recover. This usually takes a long time with joint pain possibly persisting for several months and, in some cases, years. In chikungunya, infection seems to leave lasting immunity; in dengue, there can be subsequent afflictions.
Controlling the outbreak
The Union Health Ministry had directed municipal bodies in Delhi to intensify preventive measures including fogging with special focus on construction sites and slum colonies on September 3. The Ministry has also directed doctors at various Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) centers to provide consultation and primary out patient medical care to all patients having symptoms of dengue and chikungunya even if they are not CGHS beneficiaries.
The SDMC, areas under which have continued to record the most number cases of dengue — a total of 367 cases this year — on Monday, September 5, launched 12 mobile fever clinics which will offer free treatment and medicine to people. “Each mobile clinic carries necessary supplies like paracetamol and other medicines used for fever. Besides, a team of a doctor and a nurse will travel in those vehicles,” Leader of House in SDMC, Subhash Arya told PTI.