In the first confirmed death due to chikungunya in the national capital region, a 65-year-old man succumbed to the mosquito-borne infection at a private Delhi hospital on Monday. R Pandey, a resident of Ghaziabad, died at 4:30 am at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), officials said, adding that the “cause of death was chikungunya with sepsis”. Sources said Pandey was shifted from Ghaziabad’s Yashoda Hospital at 10.30 pm on Saturday “in a critical condition”.
“He was shifted to the ICU at SGRH. He was being looked after by a team from the department of internal medicine,” an official said. Sources said tests conducted on the patient had revealed a “high viral count”. According to the doctors, chikungunya infections typically cause high levels of viremia — the presence of virus in the blood.
“The RT-PCR, a virological test, was conducted on the patient. This test is considered the fastest method to confirm the disease,” the official said. Doctors said that chikungunya usually has a very low mortality rate, though in older people, the disease can contribute to the cause of death because of complications. While there is no cure for chikungunya, treatment is focused on relieving symptoms like fever, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
Most patients recover fully, even though the joint pain may persist for several months and, in some cases, years. Symptoms generally develop after an incubation period of four to seven days and, in most cases, disappear after five to seven days even without treatment. In a few cases, eye, neurological and heart complications, and gastrointestinal complaints, have been reported. The infection may go unrecognised if symptoms are mild, or may be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue too occurs.