Chikungunya ‘bit’ India in 2016: over 58,000 cases across country
Chikangunya continued its menace across states in India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. 2016, June – September months reported maximum number of cases across India, especially in Delhi and Karnataka. As per data from National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, as of 31st Dec 2016, across country there have been a total of 58136 cases (actual numbers should be way more) .
- Karnataka topped the chart with 13,506 cases
- Delhi recorded a total of 12,221 cases. This definitely is a matter of concern keeping in mind the size of the state
- Maharashtra is at position three with total of 7,354 cases
- Based on previous years data, state of Delhi, Chandigarh and Punjab has been hit the worst in 2016, as they had less than 200 cases in previous years
- Lakshadweep and Dadar & Nagar haveli are the only two places which did not report even a single case this year
- Compared to previous years Tamil Nadu and Kerala have reported fewer cases this year, 72 and 124 cases respectively.
As common man we rarely get to know about actual disease count, disease spread, disease hot spot. We only get worried when our dear and near ones get it and then move on. Hence our team has made an effort to bring to common man details of chikangunya spread by analyzing the data published by National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP). Graph was developed in R environment using GoogleVis package.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) was first isolated in 1953 during an epidemic in Tanzania among the Makonde tribe. Chikungunya is caused by Alphavirus and transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. They are a cause of great concern to public health in India. Every year, thousands of individuals are affected and contribute to the burden of health care. Chikungunya outbreaks started in the 1960s and from there on it continues to be a trouble maker.
Symptoms generally start 4–7 days after the mosquito bite. The acute phase is characterized by painful polyarthralgia, high fever, asthenia, headache, vomiting, rash and myalgia. In the chronic phase, incapacitating arthralgia persists for months.
Can we prevent Chikangunya
There is no specific vaccine (commercially available) or antivirals for this infection, and the treatment is primarily based on symptoms. Prevention, therefore, centers on avoiding mosquito bites. Eliminating mosquito breeding sites is another key prevention measure. To prevent mosquito bites, do the following:
- Use mosquito repellents like Good night, Odomos, Maxo etc on skin and clothing
- When indoors, stay in well-screened areas. Use bed nets if sleeping in areas that are not screened or air-conditioned
- When working outdoors during day times, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to avoid mosquito bite, as this mosquito is active in the daytime
- Fumigate drains to kill the breeding mosquitoes
- Grow plants that have mosquito repellent properties around your surrounding such as marigold, citronella, catnip, rosemary, lemongrass and lavender
News of Hope
Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have announced that they have developed the first vaccine for chikungunya fever made from an insect-specific virus that doesn’t have any effect on people, making the vaccine safe and effective. Insect-specific alphavirus, Eilat virus (EILV) was used as vaccine platform.