A viral fever epidemic fever has broken out in the Indian capital of New Delhi, it is feared.
Doctors say every third patient in Delhi seems to be afflicted with viral fever and that in recent times there has been a tenfold increase in the number of those affected, though no precise data is available.
However, the best way to battle the infection is to avoid antibiotics wait out the fever, they suggest.
"Usually with viral fever, patients do not experience chills and rigours. The symptoms here are similar to malaria. Since serology tests are not done for viral infection, it is difficult to say what is causing this kind of fever," said Dr HS Heera, professor of medicine at the government-run Lok Nayak Hospital.
If you know someone down with the infection, chances of you getting struck are four to five times higher. "Everyone in my family is down with viral; same in office. Many colleagues have not turned up at work for over a week," said Sameer Chopra, CEO of a Gurgaon-based IT firm.
Doctors blame crowded places like offices, classrooms and buses for the easy spread of the infection. "A change of season always predisposes a person towards viral infections. The body takes some time to get acclimatized and during this time, viruses attack," said Dr Bir Singh of AIIMS.
"Plus it is easy to catch an infection when in crowded places like classrooms, theatres and buses," said Dr Bir Singh, professor of community medicine at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), reports the Hindustan Times.
The only way to avoid a viral infection is to eat healthy, drink plenty of fluids and stay away from infected persons, say experts. "The patients must not rush to office or school without having completely recovered from the illness. They must rest for four to five days, as the infection is self-limiting and consult a doctor if the temperature lasts for more than a week," Heera said.
Recovering from a viral infection does not require any special treatment, he added. "Anti fever drugs are enough for curing viral. Doctors can only provide symptomatic relief but rest is the only medication," added Dr Singh.