The number of patients infected with Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, is on the rise in different parts of the country, particularly in the capital.
More than 60 patients are getting admitted to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) everyday with Chikungunya infection, hospital sources said.
According to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), a total of 139 suspected cases of Chikungunya have been tested between April and mid-May this year and of them, 86 cases have been found to be positive.
Prof Dr Abdullah, dean of medicine faculty of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told the daily sun that the capital is witnessing a second outbreak of mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus after a gap of three months, raising a new public health concern.
He advised all not to panic over the return of the disease.
Experts said Chikungunya is a viral disease which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. It was first detected in southern Tanzania in 1952. The meaning of Chikungunya is to ‘become contorted’.
Patients with Chikungunya have high fever and joint and muscle pain. Doctors sometimes advise patients to take admission to hospital.
“The symptoms of Chikungunya appear between 4 and 7 days after the patient has been bitten by the infected mosquito. Chikungunya is characterised by an abrupt onset of high fever (40°C/ 104°F) frequently accompanied by joint pain,” Dr Abdullah said.
Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to one and a half months, he explained.
Dr Abdullah said most of the patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months.
Serious complications are not common. Often symptoms in infected individuals are mild and the infection may go unrecognised, or be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue occurs, according to him.
Dr MA Mannan, a noted medicine consultant, told the daily sun that Chikungunya virus is transmitted from human to human by the bites of female mosquitoes.
Most commonly the mosquitoes involved are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, two species which can also transmit other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue.
“There is no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya. If fever is high, paracetamol can be taken as per the advice of the physicians and at the same time more and more fluid should be taken for recovery from Chikungunya and physical weakness,” he explained.
Director General of Directorate of Health Services Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad in a recent programme said Chikungunya is a viral mosquito-borne disease. There is nothing to be worried as there is no death report in the disease.
“Infected persons should take plenty of water as primary medication,” he said. He also recommended taking painkillers only on doctor’s advice.