Health authorities in Delhi Wednesday said they were fully prepared to deal with an outbreak of Chikungunya fever even as they feigned ignorance about three cases being detected in the city.
"We have not received any confirmation about Chikungunya being detected in Delhi. Since the disease is quite similar to that of dengue, necessary arrangements are in place to deal with the viral infection," said N.K. Yadav, additional municipal health officer of Delhi.
"We have deployed over 1,100 workers to curb mosquito breeding in areas under Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). The disease is not fatal and prevention is the best cure," he told IANS.
Besides, heath officials have prosecuted over 11,000 people and sent more than 22,000 legal notices for unclean home conditions resulting in breeding of mosquitoes.
Yadav said the capital had recorded 70 cases of dengue till Sep 3 of which 38 are residents of Delhi and the rest visitors.
"Karol Bagh, Shahadra and Nazafgarh are the most affected localities of Delhi."
The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has tested three cases of Chikungunya in the capital, including one from Moolchand Hospital in south Delhi.
Experts said the Chikungunya virus is spread by the bite of female Aedes mosquitoes, primarily Aedes Aegypti and humans are considered to be the major reservoir of the virus.
"Since, dengue is very common in Delhi, people should not feel surprised over the surfacing of Chikungunya cases. Besides the viral fever, patients complain of severe joint pain and swelling in joints," said K.K. Aggarwal, a senior medicine specialist who detected the first case in Delhi.
"People should not panic. The fever can be cured between seven to 10 days," Aggarwal said.
According to the health ministry, seven states - Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Kerala - have been severely affected by the disease. At least 121 districts in these seven states have been affected with a total of 974,541 suspected cases.
Like MCD areas, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), guarding the VIP areas, has also stepped up its surveillance.
"We have stepped up our surveillance on mosquito breeding places and have deployed 315 health officers to take care of the task," said Lt. Col S.K. Garg, health director of NDMC.