A 65-year-old man died of chikungunya at a hospital in India's national capital on Monday, in what could be the first fatality from this vector-borne disease in the national capital.
The victim, R Pandey, succumbed to the disease, considered generally as non-fatal, in the wee hours at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital of Delhi.
"He died at the hospital at 4 AM. The patient was brought here in a critical condition from Yashodhara Hospital in Ghaziabad on Saturday at 10:30 PM and admitted to the critical care unit. The cause of the death was chikungunya with sepsis," hospital authorities told the PTI news agency.
"The patient died in the critical care unit. His test for chikungunya done by RT-PCR method at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital came positive with high viral count," the authorities said.
Incidentally, one suspected chikungunya death was also reported at another government hospital in Delhi, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), on Monday but hospital authorities said they have not yet confirmed it.
"We are yet to confirm if the death was due to chikungunya. We are trying to do so, but till then it is a suspected case," AIIMS spokesperson Amit Gupta said.
According to reports, the "chikungunya death" at AIIMS took place sometime in September and five persons have also "died of dengue" this month.
"The remaining five death cases are also suspected to be due to dengue. We are trying to confirm them too," Gupta said.
Chikungunya cases in the national capital have sharply risen to over 1,000 this season, marking a jump of nearly 90 per cent from its count last week.
According to a municipal report released on Monday, at least 1,057 cases of this vector-borne disease have been recorded till September 10, however, hospitals in the city altogether are reporting a much higher number.
Authorities at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said, Pandey was kept under the care of a senior specialist in the department of medicine and a team of doctors from the Internal Medicine-ICU.
Lalit Dar of department of microbiology at AIIMS said: "At our laboratories, 1,360 chikungunya blood test samples have tested positive in the last till yesterday. Cases are rising and more and more people are getting affected."
Doctors say that chikungunya is not a life-threatening disease in general, but in rare cases leads to complications that prove fatal, especially in children and old persons.