More than 600 people have been infected by a new disease called Chikungunya.
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease that was first discovered in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe.
The disease was also detected in New Caledonia and just recently, in Vanimo’s urban area, in the West Sepik Province.
The disease was first reported in June this year. Between June and September, more clinic presentations were discovered with similar symptoms to that of malaria.
“There is no need to panic as no deaths have been reported yet. Deaths due to Chikungunya infection are usually rare,” Secretary for Health Pasco Kase stated in a media release yesterday.
Early this month, the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) confirmed that 14 out of 52 samples sent for testing were positive for chikungunya. Further investigations into the outbreak are currently undertaken by NDOH and IMR. The WHO is providing technical assistance.
Since June to this month, a total of 633 patients suspected of having symptoms of chikungunya have been reported from Vanimo hospital. The outbreak is localised to the town vicinity and its satellite communities.
Chikungunya fever is a viral illness transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. Aedes mosquitoes are also the vectors of dengue fever, and are known day-biters (mosquitoes that bite only during day time), usually in the morning hours or in the early evenings.