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13 deaths in 25 days,fears of Chandipura virus attack

In one of the most virulent attacks in recent times,the Chandipura virus is suspected to have caused 13 child deaths in eastern Vidarbha in the past 25 days.

Written by Vivek Deshpande |
July 11, 2012 2:22:14 am

In one of the most virulent attacks in recent times,the Chandipura virus is suspected to have caused 13 child deaths in eastern Vidarbha in the past 25 days,with Bhandara (5),Nagpur (3),Chandrapur (3),Wardha (1) and Gadchiroli (1) being the worst affected districts. Together,they have reported 21 attacks.

Of the deceased,seven were boys and six girls. “The clinical presentation of the cases suggest that these are cases of Chandipura virus. Encephalitis syndrome,sudden fever with convulsions and the affected age group of 1-15 years are strong indicators of Chandipura virus,” Assistant Director (Malaria),Health Services,V R Zare told The Indian Express. “Of course,we have sent about 75 serums for test to the National Institute of Virology,Pune and the results are expected soon,” he added.

Chandipura virus attack is caused by the bite of sand fly that breeds during monsoon. “The patient gets fever that appears normal initially. So,the parents don’t think of shifting the child to hospital immediately. But it can do the damage within two-three hours. And there is no medicine to check it once it deteriorates,” Zare said. “In 2010,31 deaths were registered in June-October period,of which 15 had tested positive for Chandipura. Rest had died of encephalitis. In 2011,the total death tally was 12 in the same five-month period,with three cases testing positive for Chandipura virus.”

Asked why the attack this time is so severe,Zare said,“If monsoon rains are good to heavy,sand fly can’t breed. But this time,the monsoon has been poor,so the fly has been breeding fast… Due to poor monsoon,the attack is likely to continue to be severe in the days to come.”

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On measures initiated,Zare said,“Insecticide spraying on the sand fly breeding places has been undertaken. The fly grows mainly in animal dung,slushy,marshy areas like paddy fields,nullahs and sewers.”

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