Soccsksargen Region’s Department of Health (DOH-12) has recently confirmed several cases of Chikungunya (also called CHIK) fever in nearby Sarangani province.
Jenelyn Ellie Ventura, information officer of DOH-12, told Philippine Information Agency 12 this morning that 57 Chikungunya cases have been clinically diagnosed from the coastal towns of Maitum and Kiamba since early January.
Of these, Ventura said, 35 cases were from Kiamba and 22 from Maitum.
“Thirteen of the 15 samples sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) have been confirmed positive,” she added.
According to a fact sheet on the diseases from US’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the chikungunya virus, like dengue, is also transmitted by bites from infected female Aedes mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.
It shares similar clinical symptoms with dengue such as high fever and severe joint pain that start suddenly. It can also cause headache, muscle pain and rash.
“Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be disabling, and some people may get severe complications,” it continued. It may be misdiagnosed as dengue fever in areas where dengue is prevalent.
CDC noted that no specific medication is available to treat the disease, but use of other medicines, except aspirin, may help lower fever and joint pains. There is also no vaccine to prevent it.
Ventura added that DOH officials have emphasized that similar to dengue, avoiding mosquito bites remains the best prevention from infection by the chikungunya virus.