Recently,four cases of suspected Chandipura virus infection were reported in Gujarat.
Chandipura virus is named after the town in Maharashtra where the discovery was made and isolated.Chandipura virus is known to cause inflammation of the brain,progress rapidly from an influenza-like illness to coma and death.
The virus was first discovered by two virologists of the Pune-based National Institute of Virology(NIV) in 1965.The majority of infected patients are children aged below 14.
The likely vector (or carrier) of the virus is the female phlebotomine sandfly.The virus was detected in sandflies in Senegal,Nigeria as well as in India.
Sand flies which are found in mud and in cracks of sand houses mostly breed during monsoon and pre-monsoon months which is when the cases are generally reported.
The symptoms include sudden high fever accompanied by headache, convulsions and vomiting sometimes leading to unconsciousness.In 2003,Chandipura virus was responsible for an outbreak in southern India in which 329 children developed acute encephalitis and 183 died.
There is no specific medicine for its treatment.However with timely detection,hospitalisation and symptomatic treatment is given to the patient which could help save lives.