KARACHI: 23 cases of Chikungunya have reported in first eleven days of March in Karachi, after which the total number of cases have became 885 since the first case was reported around four months ago in December 2016, official data reveals. However health experts suggest that the actual number of cases is much higher. “Since March 01, we have received 23 suspect cases of Chikungunya,” official of Sindh Health Department told Daily Times on Sunday. However, Pakistan Medical Association suggests that the actual number of cases is much higher. In December, 2016, 405 cases, in January 359 cases and in February 98 cases were reported. “The number of 98 cases in February were suspected whereas only 5 cases were conformed when tested from laboratory in Islamabad,” said Karachi health director Dr Mohammad Taufeeq while talking to Daily Times. According to Dr Taufeeq, the data was being collected from all public sector health hospitals and major private hospitals. The number may seem less because there are some cases which private hospitals cater, he said. Another factor behind the ‘increased number’ may be is because of public unawareness as every fever is not Chikungunya. Chikungunya is a viral disease caused by mosquitoes, which causes fever and severe joint and muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue. The virus remains in the human system for 5 to 7 days; according to experts. Disagreeing government’s data, Dr S M Qaiser Sajjad, Secretary General Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) said the figures are much bigger than quoted by official data. “Even if you consider those figures to be correct it is also very alarming. The main cause of Chikungunya, malaria and dengue is mosquito. Why the government not takes any action to eliminate the root cause, he told. Government is not determined to eliminate this vector,” he lamented. While the number of Chikungunya cases is alarming, Dr Masood Solangi, head of the Dengue Control and Surveillance Programme in Sindh distances itself from the mosquito-born virus. On the other hand, Chikungunya cases were being reported from various towns of the city. There are complains from local people about poor arrangement of cleanliness drive in the city, a pre-requisite from World Health Organization to make the environment clean. Last week 100-day deadline from Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) ended with allegations between Mayor Karachi and Sindh Chief Minister. Both sides blamed each other for non-cooperation and inability of each side. “There are very poor arrangements or no arrangements at all of cleanliness in the Sher Shah area in Kemari Town,” said Jamal Shahid, a local suffering from Chikungunya since last week. “I am not alone in the family who got Chikungunya. There are a total of five family members who got Chikungunya within two weeks time,” he added. Saleem Anjum, a dweller from Golimar area also complained the same.” In our area there has been no cleanliness drive since January when it drizzled in last January in Karachi,” he said. However Dr Taufeeq looked cautious while replying the cleanliness arrangement. “It is the responsibility of KMC to start cleanliness in the city. There may be some cleanliness but still things need to improved, he said.