By Mike de la Rama
LEGAZPI CITY, 20July2013 – The Department of Health (DOH) regional office in Bicol has warned the public against chikungunya and dengue diseases.
DOH Regional Director Gloria Balboa issued the warning after an outbreak of chikungunya occurred in Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte, with a total of 300 infected persons brought to hospitals.
“We have already deployed our surveillance team in the areas believed to be with high number of chikungunya cases to conduct an assessment and evaluation,” Balboa said.
She urged the public to observe cleanliness, especially this rainy season, and remove all potential mosquito breeding sites.
The DOH official advised the public to consult doctors or bring their patients to a clinic or hospital if they observe symptoms of chikungunya.
“It is a viral disease which is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes – including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Symptoms appear between four and seven days after the patient has been bitten by the infected mosquito,” Balboa explained.
She urged barangay and school officials to conduct a massive clean-up drive.
“This is the immediate counter-measure to prevent possible chikungunya outbreak,” Balboa added.
According to her, chikungunya’s symptoms are generally self-limiting and last for 2–3 days.
The virus remains in the human system for 5-7 days and mosquitoes feeding on an infected person during this period can also become infected, Balboa said.
She also reminded the public that aside from chikungunya, the DOH is also conducting massive information campaign to prevent dengue cases.
Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.
Dengue is also another threat to public this rainy season, Balboa said. “Both dengue and chikungunya are fatal, and we need a strong counter-measure to prevent the spread of these diseases brought by mosquitoes,” she stressed.
Balboa said immediate family members must be aware of the symptoms of chikungunya and dengue.
“Do not hesitate to consult your doctor, or respective rural health units in order to prevent human fatality,” she advised. (PNA)