Beware Of The Chikungunya Outbreak

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According to the Perak Health Department director Datuk Dr Ding Lay Ming, there are now 17 active chikungunya outbreak localities in Ipoh which include six areas; Temoh, Tapah, Tapah Road, Kampung Baru Chenderiang, Kampung Baru Coldstream and Taman Megah, Bidor – in the Batang Padang district.

Last November, The Star reported a total of 82 cases of chikungunya within a month at the Batang Padang district, involving areas in both Tapah and Bidor.

Chikungunya is a viral infection caused by the CHIK virus, which is transmitted through the bite of infected daytime biting female – primarily Aedes mosquitoes, lah.

They usually bite during the early morning and late afternoon and are typically found in and around urban and suburban dwellings.

Those who are affected by this virus will usually fall ill for 3-12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Their symptoms include sudden fever and severe muscle and joint pain, accompanied by headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and a rash.

The virus has been on the rise since last year, with many states reported to have cases of Chikungunya. As reported by The Star, In February last year, Selangor recorded a total of 39 Chikungunya cases while in June, 23 Chikungunya cases were reported in Kedah.

In Ipoh, there have been some 30 chikungunya cases, with no deaths reported as of Jan 8 this year, said Dr Ching.

The outbreak of Chikungunya in Perak was reported to have begun in February last year with a total of 634 reported cases in 60 localities last year,” she said in a statement yesterday.

There are no deaths recorded so far.

“Among the places found to be breeding mosquitoes were illegal dumpsites, empty lots, abandoned houses, drains that were not properly maintained, and open containers near houses.” She said, citing the main cause of Chikungunya outbreak being the high index rate of Aedes mosquito breeding.

Since there are currently no approved medications or vaccines to treat those who are affected by the virus, the public has been advised to take preventive measures.

Prevention tips outlined by the Ministry of Health include using insect repellent on exposed skin surfaces when outdoors, especially during the day and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Where possible, stay in accommodations that have secure screens on windows or air-conditioning to keep the mosquitoes out.

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya