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Pattaya Daily News

04 June 2009 :: 15:06:55 pm 27750

Chikv Epidemic Sweeps The South

A virus by the name of chikungunya disease (CHIKV), transmitted by mosquitoes, that is currently of epidemic proportions in Southern Thailand, has currently infected over 22,000 people and the Public Health Ministry is extremely concerned.
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CHIKV (from the Makonde language -“that which bends up?) has the symptoms of an initial high fever of 40 °C/104 °F, lasting from 2-5 days, intense headaches, insomnia and rash and the prolonged form manifesting in aching joints and extremities, a form of arthritis, which last for what conservative estimates rate normally 5 to 7 days, but more often weeks and can in very extreme cases last for several years, depending on age. It has similarities to dengue fever, but not the more virulent and chronic form of dengue hemorrhagic fever. The disease is transmitted by the bite of the striped garden Aedes mosquito (particularly the Aedes aegypti mosquito, but is not human-human transmissible).

In the past five months, over 22,276 people have been reported with the CHIKV infection in 28 provinces of Southern Thailand, according to the Public Health Ministry. Songkhla has the majority of infections, with 9,078 people under treatment, Narathiwat, with 7,011 and Pattani, with 2,942. Health Ministry officials are reportedly alarmed by its rapid spread from the lower South to the upper South between January and May. It has now been confirmed that pregnant women are vulnerable, in so far as there is a 50% transmission rate from mother to foetus, but the symptoms may not be as severe as other groups. Dr Somchai Chakrabhand, Director-General of the Department of Disease Control has strongly advised pregnant women to take greater precautions by using mosquito repellant.

Recovery from the disease is dependent on age, with young patients recovering within 5 to 15 days; middle-aged patients recovering in 1 to 2.5 months, but recovery is considerably longer for the elderly. The severity of the disease as well as its duration is less in younger patients.

There is no antidote as such and prevention is the best precaution. Normal medicines for arthritic pain and fever, like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen etc. are ineffective, hence not recommended. Certain herbal medicines which boost the immune system are also said to be effective. Common mosquito repellants and coils and electronic ultra-sonic devices are effective, as are lemon grass and likewise wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers to cover the vulnerable areas. Domestic precautions include mosquito screens, and keeping doors and windows closed, but as the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are active during the day, nighttime precautions are unnecessary and most bites occur outdoors, hence staying in during the day is the best advice.


Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : World News

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