KARACHI, Oct 28: There is a strong suspicion that Chikungunya (CHIK) is spreading along with the dengue haemorrhagic fever, in Pakistan, Prof Mohammad Rafiq Khanani, President of the Infection Control Society of Pakistan, warned here on Saturday.

Referring to the fact that there are hundreds of non-specified VHF cases among the patients reporting at local hospitals, he said the Dengue and Chikungunya could infect a person at the same time. “Chikungunya or CHIK virus is transmitted by the same species of mosquito which transmits Dengue i.e. Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus (the Asian Tiger Mosquito).”

Symptoms and signs of Chikungunya are said to be similar to those of Dengue and are characterized by sudden onset of fever, headache, malaise, arthralgia or arthritis.

Fever typically lasts three to seven days but full recovery is the usual outcome, according to Dr Khanani.

White Blood Corpuscles (WBC) and platelet are also reduced and skin rash and haemorrhage are seen in a large number of Chikungunya cases. However, tests for CHIK are not commercially available, hence its diagnosis is delayed. There is no specific treatment for CHIK either.

As the disease is spread by the same type of mosquito, preventive measures are also the same. For personal protection, mosquito repellents, mustard oil and other such lotions may be applied on the exposed parts of the body.

Mosquito nets impregnated with permetherin can also be used along with the application of regular insecticide sprays both indoors and outdoors.

Dr Khanani pointed out that even triple infections — Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya — had also been reported in India which was facing a scary outbreak of Chikungunya fever with more than 1.25 million suspected cases having been reported during the current year.

“Several other countries in the southwest Indian Ocean have also reported Chikungunya cases in recent months,” he said, adding that a few European countries and USA had also reported the cases, though imported.—APP

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