Alarming rise in cases of chikungunya severely damaging eyes in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai

Doctors say the commonest manifestation of chikungunya is conjunctivitis

chikungunyaMumbai sees 22 confirmed cases of Chikungunya in October, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Thursday. While health officials say all the patients are stable and Mumbaikars do not have to worry about this a viral disease spread by mosquito bites, eye surgeons have a different say.

“Chikungunya affecting eyes is coming up big way in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. There needs to be awareness on the same so that there is an early detection and treatment to avoid loss of vision,” said Dr Suni Morekar, eye surgeon at Nanavati Super specialty hospital.

Doctors say the commonest manifestation of chikungunya is conjunctivitis. “Since it is a self-limiting infection, there is lot of under reporting. Chikungunya eye disease is a reality and not a myth,” said Morekar.

Eye surgeons say that one can experience watery and redness in eye. “Blurring of vision is rare but is a known fact,” said Dr Harshvardhan  Ghorpade, eye surgeon at Fortis hospital.

Like dengue, chikungunya too is spread by aedes aegypti mosquito. Doctors say chikungunya patients are coming with high fever and severe mobility problem because of stiffness in joints.

Dr Padmaja Keskar told My Medical Mantra that there is no need to panic and that they are monitoring the situation.

The other probable cases have been identified by private physicians from Byculla, Tardeo, Girgaum and nearby areas.

“In chikungunya infection, the person will experience severe joint pain. The virus might remain invisible for initial five days of onset of the disease. It may remain in the blood for three months or more,” said Dr Khusrav Bajan, intensivist at PD Hinduja hospital, intensivist, PD Hinduja hospital.

Doctors say chikungunya infection is often acute and lasts for 3 to 5 days. In few cases, the illness can last up to 10 days or more.

What is Chikungunya?

It is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti is the mosquito is the carrier of the virus. Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease first described during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952.

Symptoms

  • Fever, headache, nausea, joint and muscle pain, rashes
  • Rashes that look like measles can appear on 2nd and 5th day of onset of the infection
  • Period of illness: Illness is often acute and lasts for 3 to 5 days. In few cases, the illness can last up to 10 days or more

How to treat chikungunya?

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain
  • Consult your doctor if you are taking medicine for another medical condition

There is no vaccine to prevent chikungunya infection or medicine to treat it. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

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