GENERAL SANTOS CITY: The dreaded chikungunya disease struck some 180 people in the outskirts villages of Tampakan town in South Cotabato as local health officials stepped up efforts to stem the outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease caused by the unhygienic environment.
Health officials said that the first cases turned up last month among families of indigenous tribes owing to lack of proper hygiene and cleanliness in their immediate environs.
South Cotabato provincial health officer Rogelio Aturdido said that their office had monitored at least 180 cases of chikunguya in Barangay Kipalbig in Tampakan town since last month.
Health officer Aturdido said the affected areas were advised to observe the 4S anti-mosquito strategy consisting of the following: Search and destroy, Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation, and Say no to indiscriminate fogging.
“We have reminded the residents to observe these precautionary measures to prevent the disease to spread out,” Aturdido said.
Like dengue, the virus is transmitted through bites of infected female mosquitoes, mostly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus as illness usually occurs between two and 12 days from infection.
Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pains.
Other common symptoms include muscle pains, headache, nausea, fatigue and rashes.
The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually ends within a few days or weeks.
Health officials said recovery of most patients takes effect for just a week if early medication would be given but in some cases joint pains may persist for several months or years.