Some 1,500 Contract Chikungunya Across 15 Provinces, Ministry Says

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Poipet City authorities and doctors visit chikungunya patients at the Poipet Referral Hospital, in a photograph posted to Poipet City Hall’s Facebook page in June 2020.

Almost 1,500 people have tested positive for the mosquito-borne illness chikungunya fever in more than half of the nation’s provinces, the Health Ministry said, with officials instructing local authorities to get rid of mosquito breeding areas.

In a statement on Saturday, the ministry reported some 1,500 cases of chikungunya, with more than 500 others showing symptoms of the virus but not confirmed to have contracted it.

The 2,047 total symptomatic patients spanned across 15 provinces, including Palin, Battambang, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey in the northwest; Preah Sihanouk and Kampot on the southwestern coast; Preah Vihear and Stung Treng in the north; Kampong Cham and Kampong Thom in the nation’s center; and Kandal and Takeo in the south.

The majority of cases — about 80 percent — were recorded in Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, Takeo and Banteay Meanchey, where the outbreak was first reported last month.

About 90 percent of the more than 2,000 symptomatic patients had recovered from the disease, which is often painful but rarely fatal, and includes common symptoms of fever, skin rash and joint pain, the statement said. The remaining patients are being treated in state hospitals and about 60 percent of the total patients were adults, the ministry said.

Chikungunya mosquito (CDC Global)
Chikungunya mosquito (CDC Global)

In the statement, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said those who show symptoms should report to a state hospital for treatment. To prevent the spread of the disease, Bunheng advised that people stay away from places that attract mosquitoes and remove standing water from around their homes. 

“During the daytime, it is necessary to wear long clothes [covering one’s skin], sleep in a mosquito net both during the day and night…and take action to get rid of things that have standing water, where [mosquito] larvae grow,” the minister said.

Kim Sour Phirun, head of the Kampong Cham Health Department, said the province has reported 292 cases of chikungunya as of Saturday, but 280 people had recovered. 

Though none of the cases have been serious, Sour Phirun said the department was warning people to stay away from areas where mosquitoes are prevalent, get rid of standing water and use repellents, especially during the peak of the rainy season. 

“We have tried to prevent [more cases] but I believe that it could keep happening because this month is the [peak] month in the rainy season,” he said. “There could be mosquitoes that spread [the fever further] but our health officials tried and participated in educating, raising awareness and employing Abate [larvicide] to prevent the disease.”

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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