When Gujarat struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the excruciating chikungunya made roads in the state. In 2021, Gujarat reported the highest number of chikungunya cases in India. However, the tentative data for 2022 indicates a similar trend.
Gujarat witnessed a persistent rise in the number of chikungunya cases after 2019. Information from the National Centre for Vector-Borne Diseases Control (NCVBDC) shows the number of chikungunya cases plunged to 669 in 2019 from 1,290 in 2018. Regardless, after 2019 there has been a steady increase in the spread of chikungunya in Gujarat. The number of cases recorded in 2020 was 1,061 and in 2021 was 2,526. Moreover, the first four months of 2022 also have seen the same trend. Gujarat has recorded 338 cases till now.
The bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito causes chikungunya, a disease that causes extreme joint pain. Fortunately, chikungunya is not deadly and limits itself. However, the pain can last in the person even after recovery.
According to an official, “Many factors influence the number of cases. They include testing facilities and the efficiency of the public health system. It is hard to believe that Gujarat has more cases than states with heavy population.”
Dr. Devesh Patel, Medical Officer of Vadodara Municipal Corporation, mentioned that more detection of cases is because of a better report system and consistent testing. A high number of detected cases does not mean higher existence of chikungunya. Dr. Jayesh Vakani, Rajkot Municipal Health Officer, informed the Municipality posted the multi-purpose health workers in the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the absence of an anti-mosquito activity during the COVID era led to an increase in the cases.
A State Health Department official briefed that they have already prepared an extensive plan to control the Vector-borne diseases. According to the official, the people would witness a change in June-July.