GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 July)– Health personnel in nearby Koronadal City in South Cotabato have launched massive fogging operations in two villages in the area due to the rising cases of suspected chikungunya disease.
Dr. Jean Genevieve Aturdido, acting Koronadal City health officer, said the fogging operations are focused on parts of Barangays San Roque and Saravia where cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya have been increasing.
She said the city government directed the conduct of fogging operations to help prevent the disease from spreading to other areas.
“This is part of the intervention measures that we’ve adopted to help contain the disease,” the official said.
Aturdido said the fogging operations presently cover all 14 puroks in Barangay San Roque and portions of Sitio Badak and Purok Damsite in Saravia.
Aside from the fogging operations, she said their office is conducting regular surveillance, treatment as well as information and awareness activities regarding the disease in the affected areas.
As of Wednesday, she said their monitoring showed that the number of residents in Barangay San Roque who have showed symptoms of chikungunya already reached around 250.
She said some of these cases were confirmed chikungunya infections based on tests conducted on the blood samples of the patients.
But Aturdido pointed out that while the number of suspected infections has been increasing, the recovery rate among patients is currently at 90 percent.
In Barangay Saravia, she said they have so far monitored around 30 suspected chikungunya infections in its two communities.
She said they have taken blood samples from some of the patients for the chikungunya confirmatory tests.
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.
Last week, the barangay council of San Roque declared the area under a state of calamity due to the rising chikungunya cases in the area.
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 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 South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) earlier pointed to the banana plantations in Tampakan as the possible breeding places of mosquitoes that carry the chikungunya virus.
Aturdido said they could not recommend yet the declaration of the state of calamity in Barangay Saravia as the suspected chikungunya disease was only detected this week.
She said such declaration may only be made if the blood samples taken from patients will turn out positive of the disease.
“The confirmatory tests will take about a week to process. After that we will make an assessment if there’s a need to recommend the placement of the area under the state of calamity,” she added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)