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One positive for Chikungunya in Palghar, 4 others suspected

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Mumbai One person has tested positive for Chikungunya and four others are suspected in Khadkoli village of Palghar district. The blood samples of the four have been sent for analysis to a government lab in Dahanu and the report is expected to arrive on Monday.

The health department has rushed to the village with a population of 1,023 residents to contain the spread of the vector-borne disease. Dr Abhijit Khandare, taluka medical officer (TMO), said that four people from the village came down with fever and joint pain last week and are currently undergoing treatment.

“We rushed our teams to the village as soon as we got to know about the symptoms. After we receive the report, we will take more steps to contain the outbreak to the area,” the officer said.

Khandare further said that the virus is usually reported in urban areas, where fresh water is stored. “It is not so common in the tribal areas, especially because they don’t have the habit of storing water, but we are not taking any risk. We have started the Information Communication Education (ICE) campaign for vector-borne diseases in the village to create awareness,” he added. They have also started door-to-door surveys to find any other patients.

“We have advised the tribals to not store water and maintain cleanliness to prevent mosquito breeding. We are also monitoring their health closely,” he said and added that the local gram panchayat will conduct fogging in 207 households.

Chikungunya is a viral infection spread by an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito. In addition to excruciating joint pain, fever and rashes, the infection also causes joint swelling, headache, nausea and fatigue. Its pain-related symptoms are similar to rheumatoid arthritis. Patients generally do not require hospitalisation and mortality is very rare.

The symptoms of Chikungunya are similar to dengue, thus there is a chance of misdiagnosis if it is not tested on time. The disease also leads to reduced platelet count and causes severe dehydration, said the medico and added that treatment includes intravenous fluids, antipyretics, anti-inflammatory and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

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