GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 November)– Cases of suspected chikungunya infection have continued to persist in parts of South Cotabato province but local health authorities assured that they have already contained the mosquito-borne disease.
Cecile Lorenzo, disease surveillance head of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said the chikungunya cases emerged anew in several villages in Tampakan town and in Koronadal City where outbreaks of the disease were recorded in June and July.
Figures are not immediately available but she said the number of new chikungunya infections is considered insignificant when compared to the 700 cases that were reported during the earlier outbreaks.
“There are new infections coming out every now and then but the patients are treated immediately,” she said.
Lorenzo said most of the new suspected chikungunya cases were reported in Barangay Kipalbig in Tampakan town, which was placed under the state of calamity in July due to the rising incidence of the disease then.
The IPHO earlier pointed to the banana plantations in Tampakan as the possible breeding places of mosquitoes that carry the chikungunya virus.
In Koronadal City, she said the chikungunya cases were reported in portions of barangays Saravia and San Roque that are adjacent to Tampakan town.
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 rashes.
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.
Just like dengue, Lorenzo said they don’t expect a zero incidence of chikungunya due to its nature of transmission and infection.
“But the most important thing here is that we we’re able to control it from the previous 700 cases and made it reduced significantly,” she said.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., provincial health officer, said they have been continually monitoring the cases of chikungunya, which is considered as an emerging disease in the province.
“But overall, the disease is contained already. There’s nothing to worry about these new cases since our health workers know how to treat them,” he said.
The official said that just like other mosquito-borne diseases, the most effective way to control or even eliminate the disease is by regular cleanup of the surroundings.
He added that some communities were able to contain it through the massive cleanup of the breeding places of chikungunya-carrying mosquitoes. (MindaNews)