After water-borne diseases and cholera outbreaks in various parts of the state, vector-borne illnesses such as chikungunya and dengue are on the rise. Health officials of districts and civic bodies confirmed a spike in cases of chikungunya as compared to dengue this year
The VMC has officially recorded 251 chikungunya cases this year till August 25, with seven cases on a single day on Wednesday. Until August 5 this year, the VMC recorded 60 chikungunya cases. On the other hand, 417 dengue cases and 51 cases of malaria were recorded till August 25, including four confirmed cases of Falciparum.
In 2019, the VMC recorded 231 cases of chikungunya and in 2020, the figure was 105 — the lowest since 2017, while 1,247 cases of dengue were reported in 2019 and 231 cases in 2020. The VMC also recorded 400 cases of malaria in 2019, of which 100 were detected as Falciparum and 120 cases of malaria in 2020, including 12 cases of Falciparum.
VMC medical officer for health, Dr Devesh Patel, says, “We have observed that one of the two — chikungunya or dengue — becomes predominant every alternate year. Last year, it was dengue, this year it is chikungunya. There is no particular reason but the figures show a cyclic pattern. It is also possible that since the vector-borne diseases spread mostly during July-August, had coincided with the Covid-19 surge last year.”
“Since chikungunya is also a viral disease with similar symptoms of Covid-19, many cases of chikungunya could have also been treated for Covid and the total number recorded was lower. In fact, we had 590 cases of chikungunya recorded in 2018, which was the highest,” he added.
Patel said that since chikungunya, dengue and malaria are vector-borne diseases caused by mosquito bites, the VMC can only take preventive measures. “We cannot stop mosquitoes from breeding and our main task to prevent the spread by detection of breeding sites, inspecting water accumulation and creating awareness among people. Even a small amount of water — a cup full– is enough to become a breeding site for mosquitoes in this season,” Patel said.
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) recorded a total of 229 cases of chikungunya upto August 14, which is a three-fold jump from around 70 cases reported until August 2020 and four times the figure of August 2019, which was 60.
AMC data indicates that the maximum cases of chikungunya are reported in September, October, November and December, with the peak seen in October. Until July this year, Gujarat reported over 300 cases of chikungunya, with the AMC contributing 182 cases, followed by VMC at the second spot.
Until July this year, Gujarat reported 262 cases of laboratory-confirmed chikungunya at the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP). In 2020, the state had recorded 1,061 confirmed cases of chikungunya and 669 confirmed cases in the year 2019.
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