Five more deaths from chikungunya complications were reported today at a private hospital in Delhi, while AIIMS confirmed one suspected case, taking to 11 the number of fatalities due to the vector-borne disease in the city that is grappling with a severe health crisis.
Ganga Ram Hospital has reported four chikungunya deaths since September 13, while Bara Hindu Rao Hospital recorded its first death on September 1.
Five deaths from chikungunya were reported till yesterday in the city that is battling a viral onslaught of this disease after nearly 10 years. Four of these deaths took place at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH).
Five deaths have taken place at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital over the past three weeks and most of the victims were aged 80 or above.
"We have had five deaths in the past three weeks of patients with chikungunya fever, most of whom were elderly. 80-year-old Mahendra Singh from Ghaziabad died of chikungunya complications yesterday afternoon," hospital authorities said.
"He was diagnosed positive for chikungunya through RT-PCR test. He died of multi-organ failure triggered by complications from the disease," they said.
Chikungunya is taking its toll in the national capital where the number of cases have climbed to over 1,000 this season and fever clinics are getting swamped with rush of patients.
"Most of them had associated co-morbid disease conditions and complications like chronic kidney disease, coronary artery disease, which affect the course of recovery," Apollo Hospital said.
One suspected chikungunya death at AIIMS was today also confirmed.
"The patient died last week. He was aged above 60 and had co-morbid conditions and died of multi-organ failure," a top AIIMS official told PTI.
75-year-old Prakash Kalra of Mathura died last evening at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, where three other elderly persons succumbed to the vector-borne disease on Monday.
A 22-year-old girl died of cardiac arrest triggered by chikungunya complications at Hindu Rao Hospital. Isha, from Kabir Nagar, had died on September 1, officials said.
65-year-old Ramendra Pandey, referred to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital from a Ghaziabad hospital, had died of chikungunya with sepsis on Monday.
Six of the 11 victims belonged to Uttar Pradesh, including two from Ghaziabad, and four to Delhi.
Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain today said "chikungunya medically cannot cause death and therefore these deaths reported in hospital would be examined, as to whether there were co-morbid conditions like diabetes or kidney problems in them."
Union Health Minister JP Nadda today said that there was no need to panic over the surging cases of chikungunya and dengue, and sought the people's support in stopping the breeding of mosquitoes.
"There is no need to panic. Everywhere, and especially in Delhi, we need people to cooperate. Breeding of mosquitoes should be stopped. Every family must pitch in as the breeding centres are at homes. We need to check that there is no water logging,” Nadda said.
Nadda said that he spoke to Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain yesterday regarding the crisis and Delhi government assured him that they had all required resources to deal with the situation.
“I talked to Satyendra Jain as well... He said they have all resources and are working according to the guidelines of central government,” Nadda said.
Doctors say that chikungunya is not a life-threatening disease in general, but in rare cases leads to complications that prove fatal, especially in children and old persons.
According to a municipal report, at least 1,057 cases of this vector-borne disease have been recorded till September 10.
Meanwhile, AIIMS laboratories have tested 1,443 chikungunya blood test samples positive till yesterday.
Yesterday, the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said that it had recently found that the chikungunya virus has a tendency not to show itself in the chikungunya Igm serology test while it shows up during the RT-PCR test only, which the hospital has been using for the suspected samples.
Currently, many of the hospitals in Delhi have been performing the Igm serology test, which is probably the reason why a lot of hospitals have not been able to confirm the presence of disease.
“This particular virus of chikungunya has a tendency not to show itself in chikungunya in the Igm serology test. In fact, in the last 10 days, we applied chikungunya Igm serology test in 385 samples and none of them were positive whereas when we applied RT-PCR in 524 samples, a total of 293 samples came positive," said Chand Wattal, Chairman of the Microbiology department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
The RT-PCR test is being used by a very few hospitals currently in the national capital.