Special Correspondent

Nearly 20 cases being reported every day

KOCHI: The outbreak of suspected chikungunya that recently ravaged Kadmat island in Lakshadweep has now spread to Amini island, located roughly 9 km southwest of Kadmat.

Every day, nearly 20 Amini islanders complain of intense viral fever. The infection in Kadmat has calmed down.

The egg-shaped, reef-fringed Amini is 3-km long and 1.6-km wide and, according to the 2001 census, has a population of over 7,000.

Hamsa Koya, Director of Lakshadweep Medical Services, told The Hindu that steps were being taken to check the spread of the infection to other islands.

Experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and Vector-borne Diseases Control Programme were camping in Lakshadweep to keep an eye on the disease. To keep the infection-spreading mosquitoes at bay, many islands were being fogged.

Improvement

Dr. Koya claimed that the viral outbreak on Kadmat, which affected nearly three-fourths of the population, had now been contained.

He said though clinically it was certain that the viral attack was chikungunya, laboratory tests were yet to confirm this.

Last year, people in two of the islands in the string of islands in Lakshadweep had been infected with chikungunya and researchers had identified the virus.

Dr. Koya said that, as a precaution, the Lakshadweep administration was focussing on neighbourhood cleanliness and public awareness in the group of islands, with the help of local panchayats. He said adequate stocks of medicine were available with the medical authorities.

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