Background & objectives: A large number of cases of undiagnosed fever and joint pain were reported from different parts of the State of Orissa since February 2006. Epidemiological and laboratory investigation were carried out to confirm the cause of emerging illness, which was provisionally suspected as Chikungunya (CHIK) fever.
Methods: Upon getting the reports of suspected CHIK like illness in different parts of the State, epidemic investigations were carried out in the outbreak affected villages. Case history was recorded, clinical examination undertaken and blood samples collected for seroconfirmation for CHIK IgM antibody using ELISA based kit. Simultaneously vector survey was also carried out.
Results: With no previous record of CHIK infection in the State, the first outbreak was confirmed during February 2006. Subsequently, the infection spread to 13 of 30 districts in different episodes covering 79 villages till November 2007. Attack rate was 9-43 per cent in the different outbreaks with average seropositivity of 24 per cent to CHIK specific IgM. Morbidity was high though no deaths were recorded. Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus were identified as the possible vectors for transmission.
Interpretation & conclusions: The report confirmed emergence of CHIK infection in the State of Orissa, India, and its spread to a larger geographic zone in a short period which warrants public health measures to control further spread.