High incidence of chikungunya disease noted in Koronadal farm village

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 18 July) – A farming village here has been placed under a state of calamity due to the increasing cases of suspected chikungunya disease.

Cyrus Urbano, city administrator, said Thursday the barangay council of San Roque issued the calamity declaration as the number of residents who have shown symptoms of the dengue-like chikungunya already reached “almost 200.”

“Our health personnel are currently in full force in the area, treating the infected residents and implementing various measures to prevent the further spread of the disease,” he said in a radio interview.

Urbano said the city health office conducted fogging operations on Wednesday within the affected communities.

Barangay San Roque is located at the boundary of Koronadal City and Tampakan town, where the initial cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya disease were detected in early June.

The village hosts 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.

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.

Urbano said the city government’s efforts are presently centered on the treatment of the infected patients and preventing the spread of the disease to other areas.

“Since this is a continuing concern, the release of the necessary assistance has been also ongoing,” he said.

The initial cases of chikungunya in Barangay San Roque emerged late last month and gradually increased in the last three weeks.

Early last week, the IPHO’s epidemiology and surveillance unit confirmed 36 cases of chikungunya within the village.

The entire municipality of Tampakan was placed under a state of calamity last July 9 due to the rising chikugunya 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.