GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 July) — Health authorities confirmed on Monday the detection of two more suspected cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya disease in Tupi town in South Cotabato.
Dr. Lester Claveria, medical officer of the Tupi municipal health office, said the two chikungunya cases involved a couple based in Barangay Crossing Rubber.
“The couple is still under observation and given pain reliever,” he said in a statement.
Claveria said the patients initially showed symptoms of the dengue infection, among them recurring high fever.
He said they later developed some rashes and complained of severe joint pains “so we suspected that it was not dengue but chikungunya.”
Chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes that causes severe fever and joint pains. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache and nausea.
Victims could suffer from polyarthralgia or multiple joint pains for five to six months and as long as two years, depending on their age.
“Dengue and chikungunya share similar symptoms so a patient who suffers fever and rashes should assume that they have possible dengue and seek medical help,” Claveria said.
The South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) earlier declared a chikungunya outbreak in two villages in Tampakan town, which is adjacent to Tupi.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, South Cotabato health officer, said the disease was found among residents of barangays Maltana and Kipalbig in Tampakan.
He said the suspected chikungunya cases in the area have so far reached 215.
Early last month, the IPHO reported the detection of two chikungunya cases in Barangay Kipalbig in Tampakan based on the results of confirmatory tests conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City.
Aturdido said the two chikungunya cases, which were detected for the first time in the province, were found in two of the four blood samples that they sent to the RITM.
Cecil Lorenzo, South Cotabato disease surveillance officer, said their initial assessment showed that the chikungunya-carrying mosquitoes could have been thriving in the area’s banana plantations, where the patients are employed. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)