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‘28% patients have comorbidity’: Link with other diseases adds to chikungunya’s sting, says study

The capital recorded about 7,000 cases of chikungunya last year.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |
April 29, 2017 4:43:04 am
dengue, chikungunya, dengue deaths, chikungunya deaths, mosquito, dengue problem, dengue disease, chikungunya disease The capital recorded about 7,000 cases of chikungunya last year. (Representational)

Less than a year after the capital saw its worst ever chikungunya outbreak, an AIIMS study has revealed that the vector-borne infection is associated with “significant morbidity”. The study also revealed that the disease, due to comorbidity, can lead to neurological complications and multi-organ dysfunction. Comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with a primary disease. In case of chikungunya, the presence of certain diseases — such as hypertension and diabetes — makes a person more vulnerable to the vector-borne infection, the study has found.

The AIIMS study, which examined prevalence of concurrent infections in patients with chikungunya fever, revealed that 28 per cent of the patients were found to have comorbidity — indicating the viral infection can prove fatal to those suffering from such conditions.

The study further revealed that the outbreak was associated with “atypical” complications associated with chikungunya — with 7% of the total cases examined under the study resulting in death. “However, the deaths cannot be attributed to the mosquito-borne infection alone,” professor Sanjeev Sinha, department of medicine at AIIMS, said.

The capital recorded about 7,000 cases of chikungunya last year.

The other important finding of the study was the presence of co-infections with chikungunya: 9.4% of the patients had both dengue and chikungunya, while 3% had malaria and chikungunya. Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes fever, rashes and joint pain. The causative organism, chikungunya virus, is transmitted in humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also carries the dengue and malaria virus. The study, which examined 264 cases, revealed that hypertension (10.2%), diabetes (9.4%), chronic kidney disease (3.7%) and cardiac illness (3%) were the most common comorbid conditions associated with chikungunya infection.

The study was presented by the department of medicine, AIIMS at the International Symposium of Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya organised by AIIMS and Fondation de l’Académie de Médecine, France.

The study showed that acute kidney injury was the most common complication reported during the outbreak. Sepsis, a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs, was the second-most common complication, followed by encephalopathy or brain disease that alters brain function or structure. The study stated that fever was reported as the most common symptom during the chikungunya outbreak.

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