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Indian Red Cross Responds to Chikungunya Fever
New Delhii; 13th June, 2007

As indicated in the media reports in Kerala, 52 people have reportedly died and 26,000 people have been treated with many cases of hospitalization since the fever epidemic hit the State during the last fortnight.

It is reported that Chikungunya has hit eight districts namely Pathanamithitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Kollam, Idukki, Kozhikode, Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram.

State health authorities have stepped up efforts to contain the problem with the help of medical teams from the Armed Forces, which have been active since June 10th, 2007. A week long sanitation drive was launched across Kerala with the participation of political parties, youth outfits and NGOs.

Chikungunya fever is characterised by high fever (101?F-104?F), headache, vomiting, malaise, severe joint pains in wrist, knees and ankles. It is caused by an alphavirus that is spread by mosquito bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Dr. S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, Indian Red Cross Society stated that "The disease is rarely fatal and unlike dengue fever, the bleeding manifestation are not common in it. One should keep himself covered, wear full-sleeve clothes and cover the legs, especially at time of work, as it is a day-time mosquito which spreads the disease".

The National Headquarters', on request from Kerala State Red Cross Branch released items such as mosquito nets and cotton blankets, 5000 pieces each, for a total amount of Rs. 25.55 lakhs for distribution to the districts, which have been severely affected by the disease.

IRCS is closely monitoring the situation.

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