What’s chikungunya? Public warned over viral trend sweeping Thailand

An aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses. Photo: James Gathany
An aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses. Photo: James Gathany

People should eliminate standing water and seek medical attention for high fever and joint pains as an outbreak of chikungunya fever hits the west and south of Thailand.

The virus has been a growing threat, with the number of infections surging since late last year, particularly in the provinces of Pattani, Ranong, Tak, Phuket and Songkhla. Anyone experiencing potential symptoms should see a doctor, the Disease Control Department recommends.

Although it is not prevalent in Bangkok, there have been reported cases of infection. The disease is rarely fatal and symptoms usually run their course after a few days, according to the World Health Organization.

Chikungunya is a virus spread by mosquitoes. It is similar to dengue and Zika, and symptoms include fever, join paints, headaches, swollen joints and rashes.

There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease. A particularly high-profile case was heroin smuggler turned cabinet minister Thamanat Prompow, who last week was briefly hospitalized for the virus.

Preventative measures include disposing of garbage around the home, covering all water and food containers and removing waste water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

 

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