Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: During the current Assembly session, Chikungunya has come up numerous times but when it did crop up again on Tuesday, it was purely to do with semantics.

"It is chi-kun-gunya, not chi-ken-gunya," stressed State Animal Husbandry Minister Geetha Jeevan, while replying to the debate on the demand for grants to the Animal Husbandry department. Rumours were being spread that the disease had something to do with chicken and it was her duty to present the facts.

Chikungunya was a disease spread by mosquitoes and the name had its origin from the Swahili dialect of South Africa. In Swahili, Chikungunya meant "that which is bent," indicative of the crouching position severe body pain induced in people suffering from the disease. It had nothing to do with chicken or eggs.

"Chikungunya has as much to do with chicken as Mysorepak has to do with Mysore," she quipped, to the amusement of the MLAs.

People should verify facts before they advance theories about the disease, Ms.Geetha appealed during her speech, as these were likely to affect the business of poultry farmers.