Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka is reeling from a “major outbreak of chikungunya”, a viral disease spread by the Aedes mosquito, which is also responsible for Zika virus, with the hospitals reporting nearly 3,000 cases of the disease since May.
“We’re currently facing a major outbreak of chikungunya,” Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora, head of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told Xinhua yesterday.
She said, “A total of 2,700 chikungunya cases have so far been reported to the IEDCR from hospitals and clinics in Dhaka since May.”
A few cases of chikungunya that is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes have also been reported to the IEDCR from Bangladesh’s eastern Narsingdi and southwestern Gopalganj district, she added.
IEDCR chief said the disease virtually swept through over capital Dhaka areas in June and it’s continuing.
She said they are currently getting up to 100 calls from chikungunya patients or their relatives every day through a hotline they opened recently at their office in capital Dhaka.
Some of the major physical symptoms of chikungunya include fever, muscle ache, chills, rashes and nausea, she added.
“So far we understand the prevailing situation may persist or even worsen till the end of September this year as Aedes mosquitoes could breed even after the ongoing monsoon,” she said and made a plea to Dhaka dwellers to ensure that the mosquitoes could not breed inside their homes.
Bangladesh is considered a high-risk nation with respect to mosquito-borne diseases as the impoverished state of over about 160mn people is especially vulnerable to virus preparation because of insufficient biosecurity and deficient disease surveillance.
The disease was first detected in Bangladesh in 2008. The serious outbreak of chikungunya disease occurred only this year though there were some cases of the disease also in 2008 subsequent years, Flora said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease occurs in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
The dengue-like viral disease was reportedly first described during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952.
Prof Azad, director general for health services in Bangladesh, said the government is well aware of the prevailing chikungunya situation in the country.
Many measures have already been taken to contain further outbreak of the disease in capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country, said Azad who is also heading a 21-member high powered committee for the control and prevention of the disease.
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