Monday, July 28, 2008

Chikungunya virus outbreak in Ipoh - The Star


The Chikungunya disease, which is believed to have infected the people of Kampung Rasau here, has spread to at least five other nearby villages, Slim assemblyman Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib said.

Khusairi, who visited some of the villagers seeking treatment for prolonged fever and joint pains at the health polyclinic here, said he was concerned about the feedback he was getting from villagers.

“From what I know, it started at Kampung Rasau near here,” he said Monday after visiting one of the patients warded at the hospital.

“Now I am getting feedback that it has spread to nearby villages such as Ulu Slim, Slim Village, Bandar Baru Slim River, Kuala Slim, Kampung Bantang and Trolak,” he added.

Khusairi, who got a briefing about the disease from a doctor at the polyclinic, said whole families were reporting that they were down with prolonged fever, rashes and joint pains.

“This is worrying and villagers from nearby kampung (village) are now complaining of having the same symptoms,” he added.

He said he hoped more doctors could be assigned to the health polyclinic to help out for the time being.

Last week, the polyclinic was treating between 25 and 30 patients with the same symptoms, he said, adding that this week, the number of patients was on the rise.

He also advised the people to get rid of mosquito-breeding grounds in the area.

Khusairi said he had been informed that the health authorities had been fogging the area to rid the place of mosquitoes.

The Health Ministry’s disease control director Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman had reportedly confirmed that the ailment was the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus.

What is Chikungunya Virus?

Chikungunya is a virus fever. It spreads from the bite of infectious mosquitoes. It is actually a very rare form of virus, the cause of which is based on an alphavirus. It symptoms of this disease is very similar to what is seen with people affected by dengue fever, but it will not lead to death. People affected by Chikungunya experience extreme pain, fever and rash

Chikungunya is not a fatal disease. However it can be very debilitating which is what makes it seem fatal.

People who succumb to Chikungunya feel acute pain in their limbs and joints. This pain feels like severe arthritic pain and the resulting effect leaves affected persons unable to move and function in the way they normally do. This pain can last for a couple of weeks and in many cases, those affected get to experience the full or normal functioning of affected body parts, after a period of six months.

There is no single vaccine for Chikungunya nor is there any single course of treatment for it. This disease is caused by a virus that is transmitted to humans from infected mosquitoes. It is not transmitted form human to human. The treatment given includes medicines or injections that reduce the fever and pain caused by the virus. In time the body heals and gets resistance to it.

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