The number of suspected cases of chikungunya in the Karachi area has eclipsed 1,000 since Dec. 2016, according to the Pakistan Ministry of National Health Services.
Between 19 December 2016 and 30 March 2017, a total of 1018 suspected cases of chikungunya have been reported in various districts in Karachi. No deaths have been reported so far.
Out of 157 samples sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad for laboratory-confirmation of diagnosis, 121 were found positive for chikungunya virus.
District and town health officers have been given instructions in taking appropriate preventive measures for chikungunya fever. Pamphlets on how to identify and treat chikungunya fever cases have been distributed in hospitals and primary health centres in the area. Posters and advertisements have also been issued in the local languages. Lady health workers have been instrumental in running door-to-door educational campaigns to inform citizens about preventive measures.
Surveillance activities have been enhanced in places where high densities of vector (Aedes aegypti mosquito) have been detected. In addition, appropriate vector control measures were carried out.
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache. The joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability.
There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites.
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