New Delhi: Chikungunya is likely to be soon declared a notifiable and dangerous disease as the Delhi government on Friday initiated the process for it in the wake of an outbreak of the vector-borne disease in the city. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain has issued a notice, saying the step would ensure proper monitoring of the situation and requisite remedial action. The then unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had declared dengue as a notifiable disease after the 1996 outbreak, during which 10,252 cases and 423 deaths were reported.
“In light of the prevailing chikungunya outbreak, it is hereby directed that the issue of notifying chikungunya as dangerous/notifiable disease under the relevant sections of the municipal corporations/local bodies acts and rules be immediately taken up with the local bodies concerned for the issuance of such notification,” the notice says.
Medical Health Officer of SDMC P K Hazarika said local bodies have power to declare a disease as notifiable. “We have received the notice and maybe by tomorrow we would declare it as notifiable. Last time the MCD had declared dengue as a notifiable disease after the 1996 outbreak,” he told PTI.
A notifiable disease implies hospitals, clinics and nursing homes have to report its cases to the government for proper monitoring. Chikungunya is generally considered as non-fatal. Hazarika said chickenpox, smallpox, cholera and tuberculosis fall under the category of dangerous diseases.
The government notice said, “This is to be done on priority to ensure that every hospital, nursing home, laboratory, shall furnish the data of chikungunya patients to the concerned government agencies without failure, which is imperative for monitoring the situation and to take requisite remedial action.”
In a separate notice issued by Jain, the Delhi government also announced that in the event of chikungunya outbreak “mohalla clinics, polyclinics and dispensaries shall remain open on all days, including Sundays and gazetted holidays during their working hours till October 30”.
The health minister said the issue of reporting of the number of cases was raised during the review meeting held on September 14. It was then decided to declare it notifiable. “The protocol is that when a vector-borne disease case is reported in a household, then the civic bodies send staff to fog the area within a certain radius of that household. And, if proper reporting of cases is not there, then proper fogging cannot be done. Hence, it was decided in the meeting to get chikungunya declared as notifiable as so many cases are being reported in Delhi,” Jain told reporters.
12 people have died due to complications triggered by chikungunya in Delhi this season while over 1,700 people have been affected by it.