GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 July) – Health authorities are closely watching another village in nearby Koronadal City due to the emergence of suspected cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya disease.
Dr. Jean Genevieve Aturdido, Koronadal City health officer, said they have sent their disease surveillance team to Barangay Saravia to check the reported new cases of the viral disease in Puroks Badak and Damsite.
The two communities were adjacent to areas in Barangay San Roque in Koronadal City where cases of suspected chikungunya were monitored in the last several weeks.
“We’re monitoring these areas right now and we have prepared some interventions in case the chikungunya infections are confirmed,” she said in the city government’s radio program Kanami Koronadal.
Last week, the barangay council of San Roque declared the area under a state of calamity due to the rising chikungunya cases that already reached 212 as of last Friday.
Aturdido said about five percent of these were confirmed chikungunya infection while the rest were considered as suspected cases.
She said the treatment of the infected residents and the cleanup of the possible breeding places of the chikungunya-carrying mosquitoes in the area is presently ongoing.
“So far, we registered a recovery rate of 90 percent for our patients,” the health official said.
But she said the detection and increase in chikungunya cases in the city is considered alarming since it is an emerging disease or detected in the area for the first time.
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Media Centre, chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes and causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
The disease, the WHO said, “shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.”
It added that there is “no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.”
“The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya,” it said.
Barangay San Roque is located at the boundary of Koronadal City and Tampakan town, where the initial chikungunya cases were detected in early June.
The village is near the banana plantations of the Tampakan-based Global Fruits Corporation (GFC) and Lapanday Diversified Products.
The South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) earlier pointed to the area’s banana plantations as the possible breeding places of mosquitoes that carry the chikungunya virus.
Aturdido said that aside from the village’s proximity to Tampakan, some of its residents are working in the banana plantations.
The entire municipality of Tampakan was placed under a state of calamity last July 9 due to the rising chikungunya cases that then reached 306.
The affected areas were barangays Poblacion, Maltana and Kipalbig, where the initial cases of chikungunya were detected in the first week of June.
Aside from Tampakan, two cases of chikungunya were confirmed last July 8 by local health personnel in Barangay Crossing Rubber in Tupi town.