GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 1 Aug) – Health authorities in South Cotabato declared as under control on Thursday the recent outbreak of the mosquito-borne chikungunya disease that affected three localities in the area.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) chief, said they have not recorded new cases of the disease in the last two weeks in areas where the outbreaks were earlier recorded.
He specifically noted areas in Koronadal City and in the municipalities of Tupi and Tampakan that recorded combined chikungunya cases of around 600.
“Most of the infected patients have already recovered and the efforts are now focused on the eradication of the disease,” he said.
Dr. Washington Loreno, Tampakan health officer, said the spread of the disease has so far eased as shown by the number of residents that have sought treatment due to suspected symptoms of chikungunya.
As of Thursday, he said they have recorded a total of 362 documented cases in their area.
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 IPHO had pointed to the banana plantations in Tampakan as the possible breeding places of mosquitoes that carry the chikungunya virus.
“The symptoms found in some of the recent patients were no longer typical (of chikungunya). Some exhibited rashes and fever but the severe joint pains were no longer present,” Loreno said.
In Koronadal City, Barangay San Roque chair Jaime Barrientos said they are planning to recall their July 16 calamity declaration as the situation in the area has so far improved.
“There were no new cases reported at our health center and almost all infected patients have already recovered,” he said.
The city health office earlier recorded around 250 cases of chikungunya in Barangay San Roque. It said the recovery rate among infected patients was about 90 percent.
Aside from San Roque, around 30 cases of the disease were also detected in two communities in Barangay Saravia in Koronadal City.
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.”
Aturdido said that despite the positive developments, the massive cleanup and fogging operations are still ongoing in a bid to totally eliminate the disease from the area.
He said these activities are spearheaded by the concerned city and municipal health offices, barangay officials and health workers.