MANILA, Philippines – An outbreak of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya disease has been declared in Indang town in Cavite, following the rise in the number of cases there.
Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag confirmed the news to Rappler on Saturday, October 1.
"The outbreak was declared by health officials in Indang, following a consultation with the Cavite provincial health office," the DOH spokesperson said in a phone interview.
The provincial health office then recommended the declaration.
Citing reports from Cavite, Tayag said that there have been 470 suspected cases of Chikungunya in Indang since January 1.
For comparison, the whole Calabarzon region – where Cavite belongs – has over 1,000 suspected cases and only 23 confirmed cases up to September 3.
Indang is already in DOH's "hot zone" as of September 3, he said. There are no reported deaths due to the disease, added Tayag.
"Karamihan sa mga nagkakasakit niyan, 15 anyos pataas. Pangalawa, nirereklamo nila, matinding arthritis na matagal bago matanggal (Most of those stricken by the disease are 15 years old and above. Second, they complain about intense arthritis that takes a long time to disappear)," said Tayag.
The mosquitoes that carry the Chikungunya virus are the same ones that carry dengue and the Zika virus, said Tayag. Cases of these increase during the rainy season.
The DOH is already in the process of verifying these cases through blood samples, testing not only for Chikungunya but also for dengue and Zika.
According to the World Health Organization, the Chikungunya virus is transmitted to humans by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.
The disease causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash. There is no anti-viral drug treatment yet for chikungunya. – Rappler.com
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.