The low temperatures associated with winter and the dense population of India may have contributed to the increased number of chicken pox inpatient and outpatient cases reported at Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases at Chinchpokli, Mumbai.
Physicians are surprised by the sudden spike in the number of people affected as in the first 10 days of January, 78 people have already been hospitalised along with 10-15 daily outpatient cases. In India, the incidence of chicken pox cases peaks at around March or April, or when the seasons are changing.
Many of the patients that were hospitalised are adults, where it is more serious and may have complications. Therefore, they also take a longer time to heal. At Kasturba, at least 7 patients have complications like pneumonitis and some needed advanced medical care like an oxygen support system.
Dr Vasant Nagvekar, an infectious disease consultant at Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai said:
“A dip in temperature over the past one month could have brought in the infection early,” He said in patients who are immuno-compromised, often acyclovir, the standard antiviral to treat chicken pox, has to be administered intravenously.