Special Correspondent

Disease is widely prevalent in North Karnataka districts

The disease is spread by mosquitoesPeople told to get rid of stagnant water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding

BANGALORE: `Chikun gunya,' a disease that causes fever, is widely prevalent in the districts of North Karnataka, particularly Gulbarga, and the Government is taking steps on a war footing to control it, according to Minister for Health R. Ashok.

Replying to M. Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress) during Zero Hour in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, the Minister said an action plan had been formulated to check its spread.

`Not caused by poultry'

Chikun gunya was spread by mosquitoes and had nothing to do with poultry. Consumption of chicken or eggs would not cause chikun gunya, he clarified.

Mr. Ashok said pots and drums used for storing water should be covered properly and overhead tanks and air coolers cleaned regularly to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in stagnant water. Fogging and spraying operations would be undertaken as part of the preventive measures. Twenty fogging machines would be given to each district.

Those infected with chikun gunya would be given medicines free of charge at health centres.

Chikun gunya, first reported in 1779 in Indonesia, had now spread widely in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Senior scientists from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Pune, had visited some of the affected areas and studied the blood samples drawn from infected people, the Minister said.

Mr. Kharge said nearly 20,000 people had been infected in Gulbarga district with 13,856 cases reported in Yadgir taluk alone.