Family contracts mosquito diseases in Myanmar: CDC

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Sep 11, 2019 - Page 2

A family of four has contracted a cluster of mosquito-borne diseases in Myanmar, with one member affected by dengue fever and the others infected with chikungunya fever, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

The family from northern Taiwan visited their relatives in Mandalay and Yangon from late June to last week, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said, adding that quarantine officers at the airport detected a fever affecting the father upon their arrival.

A quick test showed that the man in his 50s had been infected with dengue fever, but his wife, who is in her 30s, and their four-year-old and six-year-old daughters showed no signs of infection, he said.

Officers ordered blood tests for the three, which all returned positive for chikungunya fever, Lin said.

Symptoms of chikungunya fever include sudden fever, joint pain, headaches, muscle ache, fatigue, conjunctivitis and rashes, but studies have shown that up to 30 percent of infected people might not experience any symptoms, Lin said.

While chikungunya fever is usually not fatal, it can sometimes cause serious complications, especially in newborns, elderly people or those with chronic hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, he added.

CDC disease monitoring data as of Monday showed 69 confirmed cases of chikungunya fever so far this year, 64 of which were contracted overseas, including 44 cases in Myanmar and 10 in Thailand.

The CDC has raised its travel health notice for Myanmar to level two, or “alert,” for chikungunya fever, CDC Deputy Director-

General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said, advising people traveling to Myanmar to take measures to prevent mosquito bites.

Preventive measures include wearing light-colored and long-sleeved clothing, and applying insect repellent, National Taiwan University Hospital New Southbound Health Center executive director Peng Jen-kuei (彭仁奎) said.

He advised adults to apply diethyltoluamide (DEET) mosquito repellents with 20 to 50 percent concentration and repellents with no more than 10 to 30 percent concentration for children.

Repellents should not be used on newborns under two months old, he added.