The incidence of chikungunyain Mumbai has touched a five-year high this year with 60 confirmed cases being reported so far.
The disease situation though is remarkably better than Pune that has reported nearly 2,500 cases. The first few cases of the `breakbone fever’ were reported in October followed by a steady stream of patients through November and December. From not reporting a single case last year, the positive cases jumped to 60 in just a span of three months this year. In 2012, there were confirmed cases that rose to 37 in 2013 and dipped to 20 in 2014.
Maharashtra itself has witnessed a 14-fold rise in the disease with Pune being the worst affected, accounting for nearly 92% of the overall incidence. BMC’s executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar said that the numbers do not reflect a real increase in the disease.
Private physicians, however feel the numbers are under reported in the city . A doctor from a central Mumbai hospital said that at least 6-10 patients still present with symptoms of chikungunya such as fever and severe joint pain every week. “But confirmatory diagnosis is elusive.The situation is not worrisome or anything, but this disease can cause a great deal of morbidity ,” the doctor said.
Infectious disease consultant Dr Om Srivastava also believes that there is an undiagnosed prevalence of the disease. “If there are physical symptoms of the disease, we need to find a diagnosis and treatment strategy ,” he said, adding that lingering arthritis has been an underlining symptom in most cases. “In many cases, the pain has lasted for about four months or more,” he said. But patients have shown good improvement with immune-modulatory therapies. Physician Dr Gautam Bhansali has also treated dengue cases where patients complained of joint pain, commonly seen in chikungunya. A previous study by the BYL Nair had shown how patients can suffer from a dengue chikungunya co-infection.
A state official said that the virus itself is a tricky one that can transmit from the pupa to the larva and the adult mosquito. “If the adult lays 100 eggs, all of them will be infected with the virus,” he said explaining the challenge in controlling its transmission.