Health officials declare Chikungunya outbreak in Maasin City
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has declared a Chikungunya outbreak in Maasin City, Southern Leyte, announced Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Wednesday, October 12.
To date, about 300 cases have been reported in the city, and the increase in the number of cases has prompted the declaration of an outbreak.
"Many of the cases that were identified were actually symptomatic, and they were tested, and because we are now testing for the 3 viruses, so it was identified that there was an increase of cases in Chikungunya," Ubial explained.
The 3 viruses she was referring to are Chikungunya, dengue, and Zika, as these viruses are transmitted by the same mosquito. According to the World Health Organization, the Chikungunya virus is transmitted to humans by the 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.
"The Chikungunya actually was not detected before, so now, because we are testing the same samples for the 3 viruses, we are detecting them right now," the health secretary explained.
There is also an outbreak of Chikungunya in Indang, Cavite, where a total of 805 positive cases have been reported as of Tuesday, October 11. Of this number, 293 are new cases detected this week.
"[There are] zero deaths, and all the cases had mild illness and required no hospitalization," Ubial said of the outbreak in Indang.
The health secretary again reiterated the "4S" strategy to fight Chikungunya and other mosquito-borne diseases:
- Search and destroy breeding grounds of mosquitoes
- Use self-protection measures like applying insect repellants
- Seek early consultation for fever lasting more than two days
- Say no to indiscriminate fogging, especially without doing the 1st "S" (but say yes to fogging by local governments when there is an impending outbreak)