Refusing to stand down from his assertion, Delhi's Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday reiterated that chikungunya cannot cause death and cited Google as the source of this information.
Jain, who was busy in Goa two days ago while the capital was reeling under the vector-borne disease, today said that Delhiites need not panic and only need to take precautions.
The number of chikungunya cases in the national capital have climbed to over 1,700 this season and at least 12 deaths have been reported due to the disease.
The Health minister said that the patients should go to the hospital only if they experience symptoms of chikungunya.
“People of Delhi have no need to panic. The state government is ready to provide help at all cost. But one should get admitted only if the doctor advises them to do so and not because they are scared,” he said.
Talking about the recent casualties due to the disease, Jain said that most of diseased are old people who were already suffering with other ailments.
“Chikungunya deaths are not happening across the world. Why is it only in a select few Delhi hospitals? And upon enquiry, I have discovered that most of the deaths are of people who were aged and already sick with other ailments,” he said.
Jain on Wednesday returned to Delhi from Goa, where he was campaigning for the Aam Aadmi Party, and blamed the media for creating panic.
He said, "Medically, there is no death due to chikungunya, but media is showing deaths due to this disease. I want to make it clear that chikungunya is not fatal. There are 200 deaths in Delhi every day, but nobody asks about it.”
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. Sources said the probe would seek to find the exact cause of death.
Jain said unlike dengue, chikungunya in itself cannot cause death and Union Health Minister J P Nadda supports his opinion in this regard.
"A debate has started on this but I am not competent to decide. Only doctors and scientists will be able to take a call on why they died.
"Nadda ji told me no one died of chikungunya in the entire country. People die directly of dengue. But medical literature says normally people do not die of chikungunya," he said.
Hitting out at the media yet again, Jain said it was showing only one side of the story and was not interested in bringing out the hard work being put in by doctors and staffers of the government hospitals.
"It all depends on what you want to show. There may be few shortcomings but doctors and staff of all the hospitals are working very hard. It seems our dictionary has only one word, criticism.
"All the 12 Delhi government-run hospitals have good arrangements in place. 2,000 beds are empty. No patient will be denied treatment. We are ready to treat each and every patient," he said.
The Union Health Ministry is already probing the chikungunya deaths in the national capital.
A senior official of the ministry had said that if somebody is already under treatment (for dialysis or under cancer treatment) and then the patient contracts chikungunya and dies, it is not considered a chikungunya death.