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The socioeconomic impact of the chikungunya viral epidemic in india

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  • The socioeconomic impact of the chikungunya viral epidemic in india

    The socioeconomic impact of the chikungunya viral epidemic in India

    C. Jairaj Kumar, C. Arvind Baboo, B. Unni Krishnan, Arunachalam Kumar, Shevonne Joy, Tom Jose, Anusha Philip, Kuraparthy Sambasivaiah, Belle Monappa Hegde
    C. Jairaj Kumar and Arunachalam Kumar are from the K.S. Hegde Medical Academy, Nithyananda Nagar, Deralakatte, Mangalore, India. C. Arvind Baboo, B. Unni Krishnan, Shevonne Joy, Tom Jose and Anusha Philip are from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, India. Kuraparthy Sambasivaiah is head of the Department of Oncology, Narayana Medical College, Nellore, India. Belle Monappa Hegde is chair of the State Health Society Expert Committee, Government of Bihar, India.

    October 22nd, 2007

    The infectious diseases in the developing and underdeveloped world are one of the prime factors responsible for health problems and poverty. The recent chikungunya viral epidemic in India stands as a glaring example reflecting the impact of a debilitating infection, affecting the most productive population in the age group (15-45 Years) especially from low economical back ground in earning their bread every day and leading to poverty and malnutrition super imposed with the infection. This infection has primarily affected the revenue generators of the family especially from poor economical class and resulted in exacerbation of malnutrition for their entire family including children. Here in this paper we bring into light the impact of poverty on this viral epidemic disease spread and perpetuation of the relentless spiral of further malnutrition, infection, disease, poverty and socioeconomic instability.

    A cross sectional, hospital-based studies were conducted in 3541 consenting patients from three states in South India with clinically confirmed and successfully managed chikungunya viral fever cases, during the chikungunya epidemic in India from February to August 2006. The participants name, age, sex, address, height, weight, occupation, nutritional status, monthly income of the family, family size, type of house, location of house, clinical symptoms, physical examination, number of persons infected in the family, morbidity period, adverse reactions to any drugs, previous history and special concern if any as narrated by the patient has been studied.

    Our research reveals that 80% (2832.8/3541) of the chikungunya affected populations are below the poverty line according to World Bank’s definition of income level less than $ 1 dollar per individual per day (calculated average family size was 4.5). Majority of the affected participants (64%, 2250/3541) are the revenue generators of the family in the most productive age group of 15-45 years. Over 61.9% (2189/3541) has suffered from the disease for more than 2 weeks.

    This research concludes that participants below the poverty line have contracted the disease in large numbers. As Chikungunya has debilitated revenue generators of the family for over 2 weeks it reduces productivity on the community level and further disturbs their entire families’ (including children) socioeconomic stability, which leads to malnutrition, susceptibility to other infections and relentless spiral of poverty perpetuation.