Unseasonal chickenpox worries docs

The capital is seeing an unusual surge in cases of chickenpox, despite it being the summer month of June, but health experts say it has not yet reaching an alarming situation.

They have, however, cautioned that such a situation could become a reality with rain, rise in humidity and if precautions are not taken.

Dr Rahul Nagpal, head of department of pediatrics in Fortis Healthcare, termed it a “deviant” from previous years.

“Over the last one week I am getting around four to five cases of children with chickenpox. Before that it was restricted to just one in every four-five days,” he said.

He could, however, speak only for the children who arrive at this private hospital. He said his colleagues have come across many adults too, in whose cases chickenpox is even more severe.

Doctors at Max Hospital said they have received around five patients in the last 12 days, and said though the situation is worrying, it has not yet reached epidemic proportion.

Dr Rajiv Dang, consultant, internal medicine at the hospital, said chickenpox virus is multiplying and that could be the reason behind the surge. “With rain having hit the city and humidity rising, cases of chickenpox can rise. As of now, the situation is not alarming,” he said.

Moreover, it is usually government-run hospitals that get a large chunk of patients.
“Since our hospital usually caters to tertiary and critical patients, most people affected by chickenpox opt for government hospitals,” said Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant of internal medicine at Apollo Hospital.

Yet, the hospital has seen three cases in the past six days.

What makes the situation unusual and worrying is that chickenpox is active mostly in October-November and January-February, and not in June. 

Dr R K Singhal, senior consultant of internal medicine at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, attributed it to seasonal variation and cautioned that people detected with chickenpox must stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.

The hospital has been visited by three patients with chickenpox in the past four days.

Health experts also believe that people visiting the city from parts of Haryana are carrying the virus with them, thus resulting in contagiousness.  It is thus necessary to check the disease from spreading by travellers.

“Those coming to Delhi from Rohtak, Panipat and other areas of Haryana are bringing chickenpox along with them. People detected with the virus must avoid public transport and gatherings,” said V K Monga, a public health expert and former chairperson of Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

Symptoms

Nausea, loss of appetite, aching muscles, headache, fever, vomiting, rashes, oral sores
Precautions

Avoid public transport, avoid crowded places, wash hands with soap numerous times, avoid going to school, cover face while sneezing and talking

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