Chikungunya Virus
Still Spreading

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello, Jeff - As I stated back in January on the program, this virus outbreak is an extremely serious outbreak and has far reaching consequences. There have been cases brought back to Europe from the Indian ocean countries, parts of Africa as well as India.
The longer that this outbreak rages, the more chance for the virus to be imported to other countries. Those countries that have the mosquito vector may see Chikungunya establish itself within their borders, if not permanently, at the very least, for the duration of mosquito season.
Patricia Doyle
Cities Express India
Chikungunya hits Pune, 138 cases in Indapur taluka, 3 villages affected; health officials fear it will spread to more talukas
Having swept parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharahstra, chikungunya, the relatively rare viral fever with dengue-like symptoms, has reached Pune, with 138 cases being detected from the villages of Nimgaon, Ketaki and Bhongwadi in Indapur taluka.
Zilla Parishad officials told Pune Newsline that it was likely that the disease could infect other areas, like Purandar, Mulshi, Haveli and Bhor talukas. Last year [2005], several cases of dengue, which is also a viral disease transmitted by the same group of _Aedes aegypti_ mosquitoes, were reported in Indapur, Baramati and Purandar talukas. Hence, officials are not ruling out the spread of chikungunya in these areas.
Chikungunya has already infected various parts of Maharashtra, including Aurangabad, Latur, Nashik and Akola, and Pune is the fresh entrant to the list of affected districts in the state.
Medical experts from the National Institute of Virology [NIV] in Pune said chikungunya has come from Kyasanur forest in Karnataka, but it is rarely fatal. Symptoms appear between 4 and 7 days after the patient has been bitten by the infected mosquito, _Aedes aegypti_.
A high fever and headache occur, with significant pains in the joints (ankles and wrists), which can persist for several weeks. The main preventive measure is to stop the proliferation of mosquitoes by cleaning up their breeding grounds.
The health officials have already taken preventive measures and have urged the villagers to observe one "dry" day by emptying the water from the containers. They have also instructed the villagers not to store water for more than 5 days.
In the last 3 months, the official count of the affected has climbed to a staggering 1.5 lakh [i.e. 100 000] people, and health officials concede that figures on the ground may be higher. Health officials in Delhi said the last outbreak in the country was reported in 1974. "The virus must have been silent, but it has made a comeback," said an official.
The name chikungunya comes from Swahili and means "that which bends up," reflecting the physique of the person suffering from the disease. It occurs principally during the rainy season.
1241 Cases Of Chikungunya Detected
About 1241 cases of chikungunya disease have been detected in the district, according to a press note issued by the district administration.
A coordination committee meeting of district officials was held here recently, and it has been decided to carry out an awareness campaign in the villages in the district.
A press note issued here on Saturday [29 Apr 2006] said that 674 cases were reported in Muddebihal taluk, 392 in Sindgi, 91 in Indi, 31 in Basvan Bagewadi and 53 in Bijapur taluks.
The health officials informed the meeting that about 49 blood samples were sent to NIV, Pune and NIV, Bangalore for further analysis.
Four cases of the disease have been confirmed. Surveillance committees have been formed at the taluk [an administrative subdivision] and the district levels, the officials said.
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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Go with God and in Good Health




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