Chikungunya disease is now reported to have spread in about 26 districts in Maharashtra affecting 2.25 lakh people.
Though the disease is not fatal it weakens the immune system and paves way to other infectious diseases. It was first reported in Tasmania. Maharashtra state health minister Vimal Mundada said that he would launch an awareness program so that people could be sensitized by this new disease and take necessary steps to prevent and protect themselves against the disease. It is characterized by high fever, severe rashes, body ache, loss of appetite, joint pains and nausea. The symptoms may last for a week or extend to few months. It is transmitted by the bite of the mosquito, Adeis egypti which is predominantly seen breeding in stagnant waters.
The State Government is still not willing to declare it as an epidemic despite its spread to 26 districts. The National Institute of Virology has now certified that Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg are the two districts which are not affected by the disease. Though the disease is rarely fatal it has already claimed the lives of nine individuals. Health officials have asked the people to use mosquito repellants and prevent stagnation of water. The disease can only be prevented till date as there is no vaccine available.