Imported Chikungunya virus cases reach all-time high 屈公病 東南亞境外移入增三例

Wed, Aug 21, 2013 - Page 11

For those hoping to travel to Southeast Asia to soak up the last days of summer as summer vacation reaches a close, be wary of the rampant vector mosquitos. There have been breakouts of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and dengue fever in various vacation hot spots throughout the region, and the number of imported cases in Taiwan reached a five-year high this year, with 14 CHIKV cases and 151 dengue fever cases. The Taiwanese government on July 15 issued its highest level of travel alert warning for nine Southeast Asia nations.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed three more cases of imported CHIKV, including one Filipino worker, one Taiwanese woman who travelled to the Philippines and Malaysia for work and one Indonesian national of Chinese descent. Two of them were found to have fevers upon arrival at the airport while entering the country.

The CDC in 2007 announced its classification of CHIKV as a type-two communicable disease. To date there have been 54 confirmed cases of the virus in Taiwan, all of which were contracted in other countries. This year there have already been 14 cases — the highest on record. Indonesia has the highest rate of CHIKV, followed by Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia respectively.

CDC deputy director Chuang Jen-hsiang says that Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti are the two most prominent species of mosquito that transmit CHIKV and dengue fever, adding that the symptoms for both viruses are quite similar, as are treatment methods. The difference is, however, that the incubation period for CHIKV is relatively shorter and people who are infected with the virus are typically discovered at airports, but CHIKV also causes pain in all of the body’s joints without causing other more severe symptoms associated with dengue fever, which Chuang says has a longer incubation period and causes pain in the bones and can possibly turn into a much more severe illness.

Vector mosquitos can carry more than one virus and therefore people bitten by these mosquitos can also be infected with more than one virus, causing even more severe symptoms to occur and more discomfort. Philip Yi-chun Lo, a doctor with the CDC, says that since the government has lifted the ban on traveling to the Philippines more tourists will probably be going there, but he would like to remind people to use mosquito repellent when travelling to Southeast Asia to visit relatives or for travel, and to wear light-colored, long-sleeve pants and shirts in order to avoid being bitten and infected by mosquitos.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

想抓住暑假尾巴,前往東南亞享受夏日風情的人要小心了,東南亞地區病媒蚊肆虐,屈公病和登革熱在度假勝地大流行,今年境外移入病例已創近五年新高,有十四例屈公病、一百五十一例登革熱,台灣七月十五日已對東南亞九國發佈第一級旅遊警戒。

疾病管制署上週新增三例境外移入屈公病確定病例,分別是一位菲律賓勞工、一位去菲律賓馬尼拉出差的台灣女性,一位是印尼華僑,其中兩人在機場入境就因發燒而被發現。

疾管署自二00七年公告屈公病為第二類法定傳染病,至今共有五十四例病例,皆為境外移入,今年截至目前已占十四例,為歷年病例數最多。感染國以印尼最多,其次依序為馬來西亞、菲律賓、泰國、新加坡,印度、孟加拉、緬甸及柬埔寨。

疾病管制署副署長莊人祥指出,屈公病與登革熱透過白線斑蚊、埃及斑蚊傳染,兩者症狀類似,治療也相同。差別在於,屈公病的潛伏期較短,常在機場就發現,但是屈公病會造成全身關節痠痛,不易引發重症;登革熱則是潛伏期較長,表現在骨頭疼痛,有可能演變為重症。

此外,由於病媒蚊可能同時帶有兩種病毒,被叮咬後也可能同時感染兩種疾病,導致症狀加重,更加不舒服。疾管署防疫醫師羅一鈞提醒,隨著菲律賓旅遊解禁,觀光人數可能上升,提醒國人若前往東南亞國家探親、旅遊,記得使用防蚊液,穿著淺色長袖衣褲,以避免遭蚊吻而感染。

(自由時報記者邱宜君)