'Chikungunya' affects 100 residents in Surigao

Posted at 09/26/12 1:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Over a hundred residents of two villages in Surigao del Sur have shown symptoms of the viral disease “chikungunya”.

Norma Lobo, 53, became feverish for several days while rashes appeared on her body. This was followed by joint pain, which lasted for about a month.

Joy Mahumas also experienced the same symptoms: fever, rashes and joint pain. Her 8 other siblings and their mother were also infected.

Municipal Health Officer Dr. Joel Pama said both women experienced the symptoms of the disease chikungunya.

Lobo and Mahumas are among the 114 residents of Barangay Amaga and Barangay Cabacungan in Barobo who tested positive with the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) described Chikungunya as a viral disease. It can be transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. The name "Chikungunya" refers to the "stooped" appearance of those suffering with joint pain, WHO said.

WHO added that its symptoms--in the form of high fever, joint pain, joint swelling, rash, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and fatigue--appear between 4 to 7 days after the patient has been bitten by the infected mosquito.

Chikungunya can be misdiagnosed as dengue as they share the same symptoms.

Of the five residents with high fever from Barangay Amaga, four tested positive with chikungunya.

In Barangay Cabacungan, authorities are still waiting for the results of the blood smear on 10 residents who became feverish.

Discovered in 1953 in Tanzania, Africa, Pama said there is no medication yet against the disease.

Barangay Amaga Captain David Noer said they have initiated an information drive for their residents. They are also urging residents to regularly clean canals and cover drums containing water to prevent infected mosquitoes from breeding. Report from Richmond Hinayon, ABS-CBN News