575 Confirmed Cases in State Till March
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17 April 2010
By Umesh Isalkar
The state registered a 135% rise in laboratory–confirmed chikungunya cases during April 2009 and March 2010.
As per the analysis of the most recent statistics, as many as 575 confirmed cases of the viral disease were reported till March this year as against 244 confirmed cases during 2008–09. The number of suspected cases also marked a 77 per cent increase with 1,703 cases reported this year as against 958 cases last year.
Water scarcity in various parts of the state is among the reasons as storage is a breeding ground for the aedes aegypti mosquito which spreads the disease.
Thane, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts which had no cases till recently, reported a sizeable number. No death due to the virus has been reported in the state. Incidentally, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) reported 34 confirmed cases. There were no cases during the same period reported from the Pimpri–Chinchwad Municipal Corporation area.
State entomologist A S Bhosale said, “Scarcity of water in many parts of the state encourages storage of water, which eventually works as breeding ground for the vector. Similarly, districts like Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri were not much exposed to the virus hence the population residing in these areas were more prone to catch viral disease than others.”
“As many as 16 centres, with adequate testing facilities, have been set up in the state. Blood samples received for testing are checked for malaria, dengue and chikungunya. Hence, for example, if a blood sample tests negative for malaria, it is tested for dengue and chikungunya. This has enhanced detection of chikungunya in the state,” he added.
Till 2008, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) was the only lab in the state for chikungunya tests. “The NIV has helped form sentinel centres at government medical colleges and district–level civil hospitals. With the diagnostic facilities being made available at more than one place now, the rate of detection has increased,” said Bhosale. The centres also work as surveillance centres. “They have been taking anti–larvae measures to stop the virus from spreading,” he added.