KARACHI: Due to the poor sanitary conditions, mosquito-borne vector diseases are on the rise, and 10 more Chikungunya suspected cases have been reported throughout Karachi in a week. According to the weekly report issued by the Sindh Health Department, a total of 4,868 Chikungunya suspected cases have been reported throughout the Sindh province last year, of which 4,138 were from Karachi and 730 from other districts of the province. In Karachi, a total of 73 cases had been reported in the month of December 2017 alone.
Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people.
Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. In the wake of growing cases of Chikungunya, people should monitor their fever and look for symptoms such as joint pain.
More importantly, the relevant authorities should ensure cleaning of the streets across the city. Considering that currently no vaccine exists to prevent Chikungunya, the most effective way to avoid the virus is to prevent mosquito bites by using mosquito-repellants and making sure our cities are clean.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2018.