Underreporting concerns abound, BMC asks private hospitals to notify all chikungunya cases

Concerned with suspected underreporting of chikungunya cases, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has instructed all private hospitals in the city to notify it about each case.

Data from just one major private laboratory shows that in July, 239 samples had tested positive for chikungunya. The number rose to 564 in August and 700 in September. But as of October 17, the civic body had recorded only 34 cases of chikungunya.

“On a daily basis, we are getting one or two patients of chikungunya in our hospitals. Cumulatively, major private hospitals are recording 20-25 such patients everyday in the city,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, chief consultant physician and in-charge of Covid beds for private hospitals. “But we haven’t witnessed any death, so far,” he added.

Recently, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had expressed concern over underreporting of chikungunya cases at a recent meeting of the Covid-19 Task Force.

“Civic and the public health authorities have been instructed to collect all the data from private hospitals and submit a report,” said a senior public health officer.

BMC’s data show that the city started recording cases of chikungunya from mid-September, when five patients were diagnosed with it in civic-run hospitals. But private hospitals had been getting patients from July. This data has not been recorded by the BMC. Also, in this month, until October 17, BMC had recorded 19 cases.

Now, BMC has instructed the private hospitals in the city to notify all the cases to the civic body, said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, BMC. “We are waiting to get all the reports from private hospitals,” he added.

Dr Paritosh Baghel, senior consultant-internal medicine, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim said that most of the patients are between the age group of 20 and 50 years. “There has been an increase in mosquito-borne diseases as people have been traveling more often due to the easing of lockdown restrictions, and also due to the changing weather conditions,” Dr Baghel added.