Chikungunya hits 49 in Banteay Meanchey

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Patients are being sent to the Mongkol Borei Cambodia-Japan Friendship Hospital for treatment as well as having their blood tested for the disease. Supplied

The Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Health said an outbreak of chikungunya which occurred on Monday night in O’Prasat commune’s O’Snguot village in Mongkol Borei district has spread to four nearby villages.

The mosquito-borne disease is believed to have afflicted 49 people, including 35 children.

Provincial health department director Le Chansangvath told The Post on Wednesday that experts were immediately sent to investigate the cases.

“Experts sent some patients to the Mongkol Borei Cambodia-Japan Friendship Hospital because they had a fever of 39 to 40 Celsius, sore legs, muscles and skin rashes,” said Chansangvath.

He said health experts also confirmed that the disease had spread to four nearby villages and are investigating the suspected cases. Patients are being sent for treatment as well as having their blood tested for the disease.

“There are new cases, but not many. Our experts are educating villagers about health and methods to eliminate mosquito shelters by cooperating with local authorities. We especially recommend spraying mosquitoes in main locations,” he said.

The hospital’s director Chan Vithy Navuth told The Post on Wednesday that 37 people from O’Snguot village who are suspected to have the disease were admitted to the hospital.

Some patients have been discharged while others are thought to be suffering from chikungunya and dengue fever simultaneously – a condition which can be life-threatening.

“Even though we have not received the test results yet, we suspect that they have chikungunya. Some people tested [positive] for dengue. They are not in serious condition. Among all 37 patients, 10 have been discharged from hospital,” he said.

Banteay Meanchey also experienced a chikungunya outbreak in July. There were 200 people In O’Chrov, Poipet, O’Neang and O’Russey villages in Poipet town infected with the disease.

It then spread to 15 provinces in July and the total number of chikungunya patients has since increased to 2,000, said health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine.

In July, the health ministry announced that chikungunya was caused by a virus that is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito bites, especially during the daytime. The symptoms are similar to dengue fever.

Those infected with chikungunya can expect to suffer fever, red rashes and muscle and joint pain. It is not usually life-threatening and patients recover within a week or so. However, pain in the hands and legs can last for years.

The disease can be life-threatening if it is compounded by other diseases like dengue fever or malaria, according to the health ministry.