Pune is slowly but steadily increasing its tally of chikungunya cases with over 119 cases registered by the civic body in August alone. While Maharashtra has registered 439 cases, Pune heads other cities with its count of 397 cases so far. According to Pune’s insect control department there has been a consistent number of cases each month since January.
For instance in January there were 68 cases, followed by 18 cases in February, 23 in March and then it peaked again in June July and August. At Sassoon General Hospital, the vector born disease centre has received as many as 480 samples of suspected chikungunya cases in August itself out of which 79 were positive. Not only has the number of samples being received doubled since last year but the positive cases have tripled, officials at B J Medical college and Sassoon said.
From June till August, Sassoon health authorities received 1047 samples out of which 141 tested positive for chikungunya. Last year samples were sent for confirmatory tests for chikungunya but the positive rate of transmission was not high. So last August out of 299 samples only seven had tested positive for chikungunya viral infection.
Clearly the breeding spots should have been eliminated but were not. However, now advisories are being issued by the municipal corporation in the city and district health officers to treat each fever case as either dengue or chikungunya,. According to Dr H H Chavan, Deputy Director Pune circle, from Monday, anti larval and anti adult mosquito surveillance measures are being strengthened. Right to the tehsil level health officers, exhaustive measures are now being undertaken specially as the city has received a good spell of rain in the last week.
“Chikungunya cases have been sporadic in these last few years. However, it is a cyclical process. The last major outbreak was a decade ago when chikungunya had infected 13 lakh people,” said Dr Arvind Chopra, city based rheumatologist who has been studying the virus.
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At Indian Council of Medical Research, Director General Dr Soumya Swaminathan agrees that there has been a spurt in the number of dengue and chikungunya cases in the last two months. Data collected from across 40 virus diagnostic and research laboratories have shown that there is an increase in the number of both dengue and chikungunya cases. “However, what the laboratories get are samples referred by doctors for confirmatory tests. It is likely that there are ten times more cases than those being reported to the laboratory,” Swaminathan told The Indian Express.
According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme website there were 14,656 cases of chikungunya across the country with Karnataka at 9,427 and Delhi at 1,724 cases.
Meanwhile, a total of 27,879 dengue cases and 60 deaths have been reported till August 30 this year from across the country. Last year there were 9,9913 cases and 220 deaths.