Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday said unlike dengue, chikungunya in itself cannot cause death, even as the city continued to grapple with the vector-borne disease that has claimed at least ten lives.
He said Union Health Minister J P Nadda supports his opinion in this regard. Jain however, added he was "not competent" to ascertain the cause of the mounting fatalities.
"A debate has started on this but I am not competent to decide. Only doctors and scientists will be able to take a call on why they died.
"Nadda ji told me no one died of chikungunya in the entire country. People die directly of dengue. But medical literature says normally people do not die of chikungunya," he said.
Jain’s latest assertion came two days after he accused the media of creating panic over the issue. Chikungunya is "not fatal", he had said.
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 elderly.
Hitting out at the media yet again, Jain said it was showing only one side of the story and was not interested in bringing out the hard work being put in by doctors and staffers of the government hospitals.
"It all depends on what you want to show. There may be few shortcomings but doctors and staff of all the hospitals are working very hard. It seems our dictionary has only one word, criticism.
"All the 12 Delhi government-run hospitals have good arrangements in place. 2,000 beds are empty. No patient will be denied treatment. We are ready to treat each and every patient," he said.
The Union Health Ministry is already probing the chikungunya deaths in the national capital.
A senior official of the ministry had said that if somebody is already under treatment (for dialysis or under cancer treatment) and then the patient contracts chikungunya and dies, it is not considered a chikungunya death.