Chikungunya spreading

A doctor examines a Chikungunya patient in Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Wednesday. — Sony Ramany

Mosquito-borne viral disease Chikungunya is spreading afresh in the capital with early rainfalls this year after a break of about five years.
Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research officials said that they found 7-10 cases of Chikungunya in a week on an average in Dhaka in the past couple of weeks.
The officials and experts, however, said that many more cases on Chikungunya were not reported to the institute or major hospitals.
The cases of the viral infection, some symptoms of which are similar to that of dengue, was not present in the country since 2011 except a few sporadic cases, they said.
Health minister Mohammad Nasim on Wednesday held a meeting at the ministry with officials concerned to discuss the situation of Chikungunya.
Nasim told the meeting that there was nothing to panic about and claimed that there was no possibility of extensive and terrible spread of Chikungunya and dengue at the moment.
He urged people to be aware so that water could not remain stagnant around their houses as water-filled containers are habitats for Aedes mosquito, which transmits the diseases to humans.
Chikungunya was diagnosed in Rajshahi in 2008 and several thousand of patients infected with the virus were found in Pabna and Dohar of Dhaka in 2011.
IEDCR director Meerjady Sabrina Flora said that the situation was not alarming.
‘The outbreak of Chikungunya could be prevented through simple tasks like removal of natural and artificial water-filled containers that support breeding of Aedes mosquitoes,’ she said.
‘The best means of prevention is overall mosquito control and the avoidance of bites in areas where the disease is common,’ Meerjady said.
Chikungunya is characterised by an abrupt onset of high fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash, according to Chikungunya Fact Sheet of World Health Organisation.
The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks. Hence the virus can cause acute, sub-acute or chronic disease, said the fact sheet.
After the bite of an infected mosquito, onset of illness occurs usually between four and eight days but can range from two to 12 days, it said.
Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years. Serious complications are not common, but in older people, the disease can contribute to the cause of death, said the fact sheet.
Ashrafuz Zaman, 30, a Segunbagicha resident in Dhaka who suffered from Chikungunya in the past week, said he experienced fever of average 104 degrees Celsius with pain in the joints for four days.
After he sought doctor’s advice, he was diagnosed with Chikungunya.
‘I needed two-day hospitalisation,’ he said, adding that he was now advised to take rest as the joint pain continued.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University professor of virology SU Munshi said that there was no specific antiviral drug for the treatment for Chikungunya, but Paracetamol was the drug of choice for relieving both fever and pain.
‘Anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and Diclofenac should not be administered to treat the pain as it brings harmful consequence of Chikungunya,’ he warned.
The virologist advised that normal food should be taken and the body should be sponged to reduce fever.
IEDCR senior scientific officer ASM Alamgir said that there was no need to wait for laboratory test to diagnose Chikungunya as it might be misdiagnosed through simple rapid test. Treatment should be taken based on the symptoms only, he added.
IEDCR issued awareness message to the people, advising them to reduce the number of natural and artificial water-filled containers around household as those helped breeding of Aedes mosquitoes.
It said that Chikungunya virus transmitted from human to human by the bites of infected female Aedes mosquitoes. Most commonly, the mosquitoes involved are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, two species, which can also transmit other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue.
These mosquitoes can be found biting throughout daylight, though there may be peaks of activity in the early morning and late afternoon. Both species are found biting outdoors, but Aedes aegypti also readily feeds indoors.
Alamgir said that one person getting infected in a family of four means three other members might be infected. Mosquito can rapidly transmit the virus from one person to another. So the key is to use mosquito nets, he said.
BSMMU medicine professor ABM Abdullah said that both dengue and Chikungunya had similar symptoms and treatments of the both diseases were also similar.
‘The treatment should be started before diagnosis with Paracetamol – either it is a case of Chikungunya or dengue – and if the fever continues more than five days, a diagnosis should be carried out to determine if the platelet count is dropping,’ he said.
Abdullah said that the platelet count dropped in the case of dengue, but no such thing occurred in the case of Chikungunya. ‘Diagnosis should be conducted to confirm if platelet count is dropping,’ he said.
Another medicine professor at the university MA Jalil Chowdhury said that as Chikungunya was a viral disease, it was self-relieving.
‘But If the joint pain continues for long period after the recovery from fever, some limited dose of anti-inflammatory medicines can be taken on doctor’s prescription only,’ he said.

Source: New Age

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