17 April 2010
By Somnath Deshkar & Umesh Isalkar
Health Officials At Vitthalwadi Near Pune Suspect Chikungunya
As many as 35 suspected cases of chikungunya have been reported from Vitthalwadi village, about 22 km from Pune. The health department has rushed an 11–member medical team to the village for mass screening and detecting the breeding sites of the mosquito aedes aegypti, which spreads the disease.
Vitthalwadi has a population of 8,000 and falls under the Dehu grampanchayat limits. It faces an acute water scarcity forcing villagers to store it which may be the prime reason for the mosquitoes’ breeding.
A team of medical doctors comprising district health officer, district malaria officer, taluka health officer and staff from the primary health centre (PHC) in Dehu was rushed to the village on Friday.
“It is an outbreak of chikungunya–like symptoms that include fever, jointache and bodyache. As many as 35 people from the village complained of these symptoms,” district health officer H H Chavan told TOI on Friday.
“The team initiated mass screening of the villagers. Water stored in various pots and vessels have been emptied. We need to observe a complete dry day to break the breeding cycle of the mosquito. We are also making use of anti–larval tabs in water meant for drinking purposes,” said Chavan.
“We are taking measure to kill mosquitoes. Fogging has also been carried out in the village,” he said, adding that vector control steps were necessary to prevent more cases of chikungunya.
Among the 35 suspected patients, blood of samples of eight patients have been sent to the National Institute of Virology for testing, said Chavan Eight have been admitted to Dehu PHC, he added. While the results of laboratory tests are awaited, the district health officer is closely monitoring the villages and authorities have directed the neighbouring PHC staff to be prepared. “The patients were having symptoms for the past 10 days and the department had been treating them since then. The number of people complaining of fever and jointache started increasing from April 13. It rose to 35,” said medical officer at Dehu PHC M G Sawant. Three confirmed cases of chikungunya were detected in the village two months ago.
“Villagers dig pits to source underground water. The village receives more than an half an hour of water at odd hours in the night,” said Dehu grampanchayat sarpanch S S More,.
Deputy engineer of Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP) S G Agnihotri said, “The pipelines that supply water are old and need to be changed. The water supply issue will be soon be resolved. New pipelines will replace the old ones under the government programme.”
How It Spreads
- By the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito. The incubation period (time from infection to illness) can be two to 10 days
- Monkeys and other wild animals may also serve as reservoirs of the virus. Infected mosquitoes then spread the virus to humans
Aedes aegypti (the dengue mosquito), a household container breeder and aggressive daytime biter, and the albopictus species of Aedes are mainly responsible
Fever, which can reach 102 degree Fahrenheit, painful joints, rashes, acute headache and vomiting, fatigue and nausea. There can also be slight photophobia
Paracetamol, rest and fluids mainly. Aspirin should be avoided. No vaccine is available