19 fall ill of Chikungunya fever in AlbayBy Mar S. Arguelles
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LEGAZPI CITY—At least 19 villagers fell ill of suspected Chikungunya fever in the villages of San Juan and San Vicente in Sto. Domingo town in Albay in November, the provincial health office (PHO) reported.
Chikungunya fever is similar to dengue but is milder in form and without bleeding. Symptoms include on and off fever, rashes, and muscle and body pains.
The number brought to at least a hundred the number of people who had been stricken by this other form of mosquito-borne disease toward the last quarter of this year, records from the PHO showed.
Dr. Luis Mendoza, Albay provincial health officer, said he and a team from the provincial epidemiology office went to Sto. Domingo on Dec. 22 to validate reports that 18 villagers from Barangay San Juan and one villager in San Vicente got sick of Chikungunya virus.
Mendoza said they brought along medicines to treat the patients who fell ill of Chikungunya fever.
The team noted that those who fell ill showed an influenza-like symptom with rashes and joint pains on extremities, clinical symptoms of Chikungunya.
Mendoza said the suspected Chikungunya cases occurred in November and the victims’ ages range from 4-67 years old.
Mendoza said most of the suspected victims did not seek medical consultation because they thought they only had flu.
The villages of San Juan and San Vicente are three kilometers away from the town proper.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda on Monday directed the provincial health office to closely coordinate with the Sto. Domingo municipal health office and involve the community in implementing measures to stop the spread of the disease by eliminating breeding places for mosquitoes.
The PHO epidemiology surveillance team have started gathering laboratory examinations from the patients and these would be sent to the Department of Health in Bicol for analysis, he said.
In September, Chikunyunga fever also afflicted at least 83 residents of Barangay San Ramon on Batan Island, Rapu-Rapu, Albay.
The Rapu-Rapu municipal health office reported that cases of the mosquito-borne disease were initially reported at 70 cases but surged to 83 by the end of September.