Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Tanit Sermkaew confirmed to The Phuket News today (Dec 12) that government hospitals across Phuket had reported 47 confirmed cases in November and a further 21 people already this month.
“Chikungunya virus infections are increasing in areas where people live close together, especially in densely populated areas in Rassada, Wichit and Talad Yai (in Phuket Town), as well as in Rawai,” he said.
Health Chief Tanit urged people not to panic.
“No people have died from this, Chikungunya virus does not result in death,” he said, adding that the PPHO has launched a campaign to raise awareness of Chikungunya and to prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne virus.
Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos and his team of municipal health officials are not waiting, they began fumigating and rolling out their prevention campaign on Monday.
Doctors at Vachira Phuket Hospital, the island’s main government hospital, located in Phuket Town, have already confirmed that 11 people in Rawai have contracted the virus, Mayor Aroon said.
“But there are 20 more people who now have a fever that we are waiting for doctors to confirm whether or not they too have Chikungunya,” he added.
“It is a worry for us now. Chikungunya infections are rising in Moo 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in Rawai. It is spreading very quickly, and I have received a Chikungunya virus awareness warning from the Phuket Provincial Health Office already,” he confirmed.
“We don’t know the clear cause of this rise in infections yet. Only mosquitoes deliver the disease,” Mayor Aroon noted.
In response, Mayor Aroon and Rawai Municipality health officials have begun fumigating areas where mosquitoes are likely to breed.
They have also begun a door-to-door campaign to educate local residents about eliminating likely mosquito-source areas – namely those where still water lies.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chikungunya symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
The symptoms of Chikungunya are similar to those of dengue and Zika, diseases spread by the same mosquitoes that transmit Chikungunya. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
“Chikungunya disease does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling… Most patients feel better within a week. In some people, the joint pain may persist for months,” the CDC notes.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Chikungunya virus.
To treat symptoms of Chikungunya, the CDC suggests:
- Get plenty of rest;
- Drink fluids to prevent dehydration;
- Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain;
- Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding).
- If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.