Special Correspondent

RAMANATHAPURAM: The virus affecting a large number of people in the State during the current season could be a new form or the next stage of chickungunya virus, according to S. Elango, Director, Public Health.

The symptoms of people affected with chickungunya disease were different from the earlier outbreaks.

Though the fever came down within 3 or 4 days of the disease, the patients felt severe pain in all joints of the body. In the earlier outbreak, fever persisted for more days and the affected people felt pain in major joints particularly knee. It had been taken to the notice of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and it had indicated that the virus could be a new form of chickungunya virus or the next stage. The ICMR had been conducting a study to find out the characters of the virus.

Mr. Elango told the reporters here that more than 5.7 lakh persons were affected with viral fever in the State during November and December months.

He added that when compared to 2007 and 2008, the fever cases were less in 2009. While 37.56 lakh cases were reported in 2007 and 30.43 lakh in 2008, it was 27.43 lakh in 2009.