Spate of chikungunya deaths reported in the Indian capital

Four people have died of chikungunya at hospitals in New Delhi, in what are reportedly the first fatalities from the mosquito-borne disease in the Indian capital, doctors said Tuesday.

Delhi has been reeling from an outbreak of chikungunya, dengue and other viral diseases with hospitals overflowing with sick people.

Three patients, all men between the ages of 61 to 65, have died of the disease at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital since Monday, SP Byotra, head of medicine at the hospital, told reporters. A fourth patient succumbed to the virus at Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, broadcaster NDTV reported.

"Chikungunya is not a life-threatening disease in general, but in some cases leads to complications that prove fatal, particularly in children and old people," Byotra said.

Ten people have died due to dengue and malaria this season, media reports said.

Chikungunya cases have generally been reported from southern and eastern India. The Indian capital has not seen a major outbreak from the disease in years.

Delhi recorded over 1,050 chikungunya cases since June, compared to the 64 cases recorded last year. The southern state of Karnataka, meanwhile, accounts for nearly 9,000 of the 13,000 cases of chikungunya countrywide this year.

The word "chikungunya" is Makonde for "that which bends up," referring to the stooped posture of patients afflicted by the severe joint pain accompanying the disease.

Mosquitos can carry diseases like dengue, chikungunya and malaria. They breed in stagnant water and there is often a spike in cases after monsoon rains.

Last update: Tue, 13/09/2016 - 12:31
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