Over 78,000 cases of chikungunya reported in State

Nagesh Prabhu

Disease said to be widespread in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra

Disease was prevalent in North KarnatakaIt has now spread to Bangalore, Tumkur and Kolar districts

BANGALORE: Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, is widely prevalent in the State, and over 78,000 people in 61 taluks have been infected.

The disease, which was so far concentrated in the districts of North Karnataka, has now spread to Bangalore Rural, Bangalore Urban, Tumkur and Kolar districts. As many as 78,175 people had been infected with the disease in 101 taluk of 15 districts till Wednesday. Symptoms include high fever and pain in the limbs. The disease is widespread in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The highest number of people infected is in Gulbarga district (31,304) followed by Raichur (14,614), Tumkur (10,818), Bidar (9,784), Chitradurga (3867), Bellary (3358), Bangalore Rural (476), Kolar (206) and Bangalore Urban (87). Over 600 villages in Gulbarga district and 360 villages in Bidar district have been affected, Basavaraju, Commissioner, Health and Family Welfare Services, told The Hindu on Thursday.

Senior scientists from the National Institute of Virology, Pune, visited some of the affected areas. They collected blood samples from 1,437 people of which 63 tested positive: 43 in Bidar, four in Bagalkot, nine in Raichur and seven in Gulbarga. However, no one has died of the disease so far. The Department of Health and Family Welfare has taken steps on a war footing to control the disease. Officials have undertaken both indoor and outdoor fogging in the affected villages as part of the preventive measures. But there is a shortage of fogging and spraying equipment. The Government has decided to buy equipment from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Doctors have been sent to Gulbarga, Bellary, Bidar, Raichur, Bijapur and Tumkur where a large number of people have been infected. There is no vaccine or treatment for the viral infection, which is self-limiting. So prevention is the best measure, he said.

Pots, containers and drums used for storing water should be covered properly and overhead tanks cleaned regularly to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, he added.

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