Chikungunya on rise, AIIMS tests 885 blood samples positive

New Delhi: Chikungunya is refusing to let go of its grip on Delhi with patients swamping the hospitals including AIIMS which itself has tested nearly 890 blood test samples positive for the vector-borne disease in the last two months.

Several hospitals in the national capital are reporting increasing cases of chikungunya, including at Safdarjung Hospital where three deaths due to dengue and one due to malaria have taken place this season.

Cases are likely to rise further as the season peaks in September. At AIIMS here, which gets blood test samples from several cities, including from Delhi and neighbouring regions, hundreds of chikungunya samples have been tested positive.

“At our AIIMS laboratories, 885 chikungunya blood test samples have tested positive in the last two months (July- August). Cases are rising and more and more people are getting affected,” Lalit Dar of Department of Microbiology at AIIMS told PTI.

The sudden spike in chikungunya cases in Delhi and other parts of north India, has come nearly ten years after a big outbreak of this mosquito-borne disease across the country.

Besides, the city is also battling spiralling cases of dengue which has claimed at least nine lives in Delhi while two people have also died due to malaria this season.

“At our hospital till September 6, 480 cases of chikungunya and 316 cases of dengue have been reported this year. The numbers are likely to rise with the peak of the season this month,” Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital A K Rai said.

However, civic bodies have kept the chikungunya cases count at 560 till September 3.

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) which compiles the vector-borne disease cases report on behalf of all civic bodies, has pegged the total number of dengue cases this season at over 770.

The 128 fresh chikungunya cases, reported by the SDMC in the last one week, measures too little compared to the cases being reported at hospitals, on an average close to 200 per week.

Chikungunya is a viral illness and its symptoms are similar to those of dengue, which include high-grade fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain and headache and joint swelling.

It also causes rashes in patients but is not a threat like dengue in which there is a risk of bleeding due to abrupt fall in platelet count.

Meanwhile, cardiologist and IMA President-elect K K Aggarwal has cautioned about chikungunya virus (CHIKV) that can cause CHIKV-associated encephalitis.

“Children younger than one year and adults aged 65 years or older have the highest incidence of CHIKV-associated encephalitis,” he said, while claiming such cases are occurring in Delhi.