Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Don’t take trouble for testing chikungunya, advises DGHS

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-05-19 00:58:49 BdST

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, Brazil, February 2, 2016. Reuters

The director general for health services has discouraged people from testing mosquito-borne chikungunya and asked doctors to follow the symptoms of the viral disease.

“We have already prepared a guideline for doctors,” Prof Abul Kalam Azad said at a journalists’ orientation on the disease at the government’s disease monitoring arm, IEDCR, auditorium on Thursday.

He said only the IEDCR can confirm the presence of the virus, “but it is not even needed since we do not have any treatment”.

The symptoms include sudden start of a very high grade fever and joint pains. Sometimes rashes can appear in the body.

It is similar to dengue as the same mosquito, Aedes Aegypti, causes both the diseases. The mosquito breeds in a small collection of clean water in and around the home.

Prof Khan Abul Kalam Azad, President of Bangladesh Society of Medicine that prepared the guideline for doctors, said dengue causes muscle pains while chikungunya causes severe joint pain.

“We are asking patients to take rest, drink plenty of water,” he said, adding that it is not a fatal disease.

He, however, said all fever may not be dengue or chikungunya. “This is also the season of typhoid fever, so doctors can suggest some tests based on the symptoms for a proper diagnosis.”

He urged people not to panic, and be aware of the disease, instead.

The name Chikungunya came from the word ‘Makonde’ meaning bending up, referring to the posture developed as a result of the arthritic symptoms of the disease.

It was first identified in 1953 in Tanzania. India reported an epidemic in 1964.

Bangladesh found the first case in 2008 in northern Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts. In Dhaka, IEDCR noticed the presence of the disease later in 2011.

This year the number of cases has spiked. The IEDCR has so far tested 139 blood samples and chikungunya virus has been found in 60 percent of them. The disease is mostly prevalent in Dhaka and Chittagong.

“We have to face it,” the director general said. “We need the support of you all. We cannot go door to door.

“You have to keep your home clean and remove stagnant water from any abandoned containers at home.”

“This mosquito can breed even in flower vase,” he said, adding that they would involve schools and place of worship of all religions to raise awareness.