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HomeHealthLower exposure in past 5 years 'behind' chikungunya surge

Lower exposure in past 5 years ‘behind’ chikungunya surge

91 cases in UT so far | Joint pain persisting even after recovery: PGI

Chandigarh, November 18

The number of chikungunya cases has gone up this year owing to lower exposure of community to the infection in the past five years, doctors at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI) have said.

The doctors say symptoms such as muscle pain, joint swelling and rash are the same as previous years, but there is persistence or relapse of rheumatologic (affecting joints) symptoms in the months following acute illness.

Of the total individuals tested at the PGI for the viral infection between September 1 and November 16, at least 514 (from the region) were found infected.

Prof Sanjay Jain, Department of Internal Medicine, says: “Most people infected with the chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms. These usually begin three to seven days after an infected mosquito bites. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. The joint pain can be severe and disabling and may persist for months. Death from chikungunya is rare.”

Dr PVM Lakshmi from the Department of Community Medicine, says: “The cases have been higher this time due to lower exposure of the community to the virus and thereby no antibody against the infection. Chikungunya cases were few and far between during the past five years as a result of which there is poor immunity response against the disease.” Most cases go undetected even as people complain of similar symptoms because they are getting tested on the wrong day. Chikungunya virus shows positivity preferably on the seventh day of the illness after antibody is developed in the infected person, says Dr Lakshmi.

The virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, mainly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Humans are the primary host of chikungunya virus during epidemic periods. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected individuals. Most patients recover fully from the infection, but in some cases joint pain may persist for months or even years.



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