Calcutta, Oct. 14: The government today confirmed The Telegraph report that two of the seven blood samples sent to the National Institute of Virology for detection of the chikungunya virus had tested positive.
“The Elisa test conducted at NIV, Pune, has confirmed two chikungunya cases among the samples,” D.K. Niyogi, the director of the School of Tropical Medicine, Calcutta, said.
The state has asked for kits to conduct the test for the virus here. “We have formally sent our request to NIV, Pune, for the test kits they use. Once these are available, tests for suspected cases can be conducted here,” Niyogi said.
The health department received the report last evening. “It was faxed to us,” an official said.
The two who tested positive are residents of Ramchandrapur village in North 24-Parganas’ Baduria block.
According to official figures, about 1,500 people in 15-odd villages in Baduria and Swarupnagar are down with fever.
Chikungunya was first reported in Bengal 43 years ago. The Indian Council of Medical Research Journal dated May 1980 says lakhs of cases were detected in Calcutta in 1963 and many of them were haemorrhagic in nature. Some 200 people are said to have died.
“Usually, chikungunya does not cause death,” said Niyogi. “Those deaths could have been because of the co-existence of some other virus such as dengue.”
This year, the first case of unknown fever was reported on September 1.
The School of Tropical Medicine (STM) has the facility to test for chikungunya, but Niyogi said the process is time-consuming and cumbersome. So, it has pleaded for Elisa kits, which can confirm chikungunya in two days. The STM facility takes three to four weeks for the same task.
In this process, blood has to be collected twice, seven days after onset of fever and again two weeks later.
The North 24-Parganas administration has geared up for symptomatic treatment in the two affected blocks. “Mosquito control is the only way to stop its spread and people are being asked to keep their localities clean,” an official said.
One person at Lalbag in Murshidabad and six people in Calcutta tested positive for Dengue today.
What happens in chikungunya
• High fever for 1-4 days with incapacitating joint pain and then no fever for 3-4 days after that
• Rashes in some cases, followed by haemorrhage — blood spots in eyes, bleeding from nose or with urine
• Fever again, this time with rashes and itching
• Fever subsides around six days later but crippling joint pain persists