The denizens of Karachi have for long been suffering with Chickungunya, a viral disease that is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. The disease that has now spread in several parts of the city has resulted in hundreds getting hospitalized for sever pain and high fever. As part of the efforts to curtail the outbreak, a specialized World Health Organization arrived this morning in the port city.
The team will be holding meetings with various stakeholders including the provincial government and the local municipal government. The meetings are aimed in chalking out a comprehensive, decisive strategy to combat the outbreak, curtail it and prevent any further spread.
The symptoms of the disease include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rashes. The worst is the joint pain that is debilitating and can vary in duration. The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue and zika, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where they are common.
Speaking on the arrival Dr. Muhammad Taufiq, Karachi Health Director claimed that the interventions methods will help in controlling the outbreak with relative control over the next transmission season.
He added that the technical help of experts belonging to international organisations was sought since the prevalence of the disease has exceeded a few months. According to Dr Taufiq, the WHO team will visit Saudabad, Malir, Orangi, Bin Qasim Town, the coastal belt of Karachi and other areas if necessary.
The WHO team is expected to conduct epidemiological investigations of the outbreak. This will be carried both at health facilities and at community level. The team that comprises of officials from WHO Regional Office for the Eastern and Mediterranean, provincial dengue control programme and health department. The survey will help in confirming the presence of aedes aegypti, a yellow fever mosquito in affected areas.
The first outbreak in the city was reported in December last year. It was an unknown fever that was causing severe joint pain and only was later confirmed as Chickungunya. From December 19, 2016 to April 4 this year, a total 1,419 suspected cases of chikungunya have been registered using the following WHO recommended case definition:
“A person with acute onset of fever of 102° Fahrenheit and severe arthralgia or arthritis not explained by other medical conditions and who resides or has visited epidemic or endemic areas within two weeks before the onset of symptoms,” explained Dr Sara, Head of WHO Sindh Office.