Pune: The city has recorded the highest number of chikungunya cases in Maharashtra during the last two years. In 2018, so far, Pune city has reported 12 cases of chikungunya, whereas in 2017, the number was 951, and in 2016, the number was 2,459.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr MS Diggikar, Joint Director (Health), Maharashtra, said that Pune tops the list for maximum chikungunya cases for various reasons.
“One of the major reasons is that there is more awareness among people and therefore more people prefer going to the doctor, which results in more cases being reported and also chikungunya does not have mortality. Also, Pune city has more medical facilities and, hence, patients from various surrounding areas visit the city, thereby increasing the number of reported cases,” said Diggikar.
What is intriguing is that after Pune, Mumbai tops the list. However, the number of cases there is substantially less.
According to the State Health Department, Mumbai did not report any chikungunya case this year so far. However, in 2017, Mumbai reported 12 cases and 73 cases in 2016.
Speaking about the large difference in the number of cases, Dr Sudhir Patsute from Naidu Hospital in Pune said that the climate and environment in the city are more conducive to the virus.
“Dengue and chikungunya are both vector-borne diseases and chikungunya is a virus. Also, the moderate temperature of the city is more conducive to the virus. Another important factor is the waste littered in the open,” said Patsute.
“The mosquitoes, in this case, need around seven days to breed in stagnant water, which can be accumulated in the waste and so we see a spike in cases immediately after the first rain. And before the rains, there is a rise in cases because of stored water,” added Patsute.
Last year in the month of January, the Health Department of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) reported 36 chikungunya cases. The number subsequently increased to 262 in the month of October last year.
Echoing similar sentiments, Dr Sanjay Gaikwad from Sassoon General Hospital said, “Migrant populations are the primary carriers of the disease. The disease spreads after a vector bite. In Mumbai, we can see more malaria cases and in Pune, it is dengue and chikungunya.”
While addressing the issue of the growing cases in the city, Dr Vaishali Jadhav, Assistant Health Chief with the PMC Health Department, noted that the department has undertaken various efforts to keep the number in check.
The total number of chikungunya cases reported were 2,949 in 2016 across the State whereas in 2017, 1,438 cases were reported.