MAHARASHTRA HAS reported 2,280 cases of chikungunya and 5,653 cases of dengue — both diseases spread by the same vector, the Aedis aegypti mosquito — between January and October 31. Mumbai has recorded the highest number of dengue cases, while Pune city has recorded the most cases of chikungunya in Maharashtra.
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The latest data released by the state epidemiology cell shows that Mumbai recorded 941 confirmed cases of dengue until October 31, followed by Nashik with 775 cases and Pune with 596 dengue cases in government hospitals. At least 22 people were reported to have succumbed to the mosquito-borne viral infection. The cases of dengue were higher in urban areas, with 3,904 dengue cases in urban centres compared to 1,749 cases in rural areas. Of the 22 dengue deaths, 13 were reported from cities and nine from villages.
“We find the most cases in societies where residents are negligent about curbing mosquito breeding. Since the aedis mosquito breeds in fresh stagnated water, its cases are higher in urban areas where several people store water in drums,” said Dr Rajan Naringrekar, insecticide officer at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
According to an epidemiology officer in BMC, the cases of dengue are now on a steep decline. “Last month we had over 4,000 suspected dengue cases in Mumbai. In the first week of November, the cases have dropped to less than 400. The number of viral infections are reducing now due to changing weather conditions,” the official said.
Cases of chikungunya, which is also spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, have been higher this year across the state, after a decade. Pune recorded the most cases at a dramatic 1,943 followed by the Pimpri Chinchwad region with 32 cases and Solapur with 15. According to a state epidemiologist, the disease has seen zero mortality so far. The virus has remained concentrated in Pune. Mumbai recorded only 10 chikungunya cases compared to rural regions, where 275 chikungunya patients were detected. Overall, 2004 cases were diagnosed in urban regions.
“There is only one virus that spreads chikungunya as opposed to four viruses that spread dengue. Whenever there is a chikungunya outbreak in a region, the virus goes out of circulation for the next few years. The last outbreak of chikungunya in the state was in 2006 and 2007,” said Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer. In 2006, Marathwada was the region worst affected by chikungunya. Cases of dengue, however, have been reported every year since 2011 due to four viruses— Den I, Den II, Den III, Den IV— spreading the infection. Mumbai has a massive load of the Den II and Den III viruses.