Chikungunya fever cases climb to new high level

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 - Page 4

Three more confirmed imported cases of Chikungunya fever were reported last week, bringing this year’s total to 14, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that the number of reported cases was the highest on record for the relevant period.

Of the three patients, two are foreigners, one an Indonesian and one a Filipino, while the other is a Taiwanese who contracted the disease in the Philippines, CDC official Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍) said.

“Ten of this year’s 14 cases originated in Indonesia, with two from the Philippines, one from Thailand and one from Singapore,” Liu added.

Many southeast Asian countries are suffering Chikungunya outbreaks this year.

“For example, Singapore had 488 reported cases as of Aug. 3, 54 times more than the number reported during the same period last year,” Liu said.

Chikungunya fever, a mosquito-borne viral disease that causes fever, headache, nausea, muscle pain, rashes and joint pain, has been a Category 2 notifiable communicable disease since October 2007.

CDC physician Philip Yi-chun Lo (羅一鈞) said that as Chikungunya shares many clinical symptoms with dengue fever — such as fever and muscle pain — it is difficult to differentiate between the two.

“The major difference is that individuals who are infected with Chikungunya have severe joint pains, while dengue infections cause none,” Luo said.

“Additionally, dengue fever can cause serious illness, while Chikungunya rarely does,” he said.