The number of people diagnosed with chikungunya in the region this year has increased to 384 compared to only two cases in 2022, according to the Department of Health-Cordillera.
Of the total cases, 382 were recorded in Mountain Province mostly in Natonin and Paracelis which are neighboring towns located on the eastern side of the province. The two other cases were recorded in Ifugao and Baguio City.
Clustering of cases has also been recorded in Barangays Bananao, Bacani, and Bantay in Natonin and Barangays Buringal and Butigue in Paracelis.
Those who got infected are between nine months to 95 years old. Fifty-six percent of those infected are male, the DOH added.
Carriers of the chikungunya virus are the aedes aegypti mosquito, the same carrier of the dengue virus, and the aedes albopictus, the same carrier of the Zika virus.
As the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the DOH has monitored an increase in chikungunya cases nationwide, the agency has recently issued guidelines on the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases, which also include leptospirosis and hand-foot-mouth disease.
Among the guidelines is for local government units to ensure that dengue fast lanes are functional, said DOH-CAR Infectious Diseases cluster head Jennifer Joyce Pira.
Just like the protocols for dengue fever, Pira said the public should also observe the 5S in mosquito bite prevention: Search and destroy possible mosquito breeding places or cover tightly water containers and periodically change the water in flower vases; use Self-protection measures such as wearing long-sleeved clothes and pants when needed, use mosquito repellents; Seek early consultation if symptoms persist in two or three days; Say yes to misting when there is an impending outbreak or a hotspot; and sustain hydration.
Symptoms of chikungunya are similar to dengue fever except for severe joint pain and joint swelling. Presence of the virus in the blood is determined through a laboratory test. Other symptoms include abrupt onset of fever, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
Chikungunya is managed through the intake of paracetamol to reduce fever and pain. Pira said people suspected of having dengue fever or chikungunya should not take aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen as this can increase the risk of bleeding.
Meanwhile, the DOH has recorded a 56 percent decrease in the number of dengue cases in the region. From the 8,363 cases in 2022, it went down to 3,671 this year.
The DOH said despite the decline, the public should remain vigilant as there are other vector-borne diseases such as leptospirosis, chikungunya, and hand-foot-and mouth disease.
The DOH reminds the public to maintain sanitation in the surroundings and personal hygiene to help ward off infections. – Rimaliza A. Opiña