2 migrant workers diagnosed with chikungunya fever

Kaohsiung--Two migrant workers from Southeast Asian countries living in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, have been confirmed to be infected with chikungunya fever, a mosquito-borne viral disease, the Kaohsiung Department of Health said Sunday.

One of the two patients is a 28-year-old woman from the Philippines living in Nanzi District who had returned to her hometown in the Philippines for a short visit in late March.

She began developing fever, joint pain and muscle pain on April 4, and was diagnosed on Saturday to have contracted chikungunya, the department said.

The second patient is a man from Indonesia, aged 22, who fell ill with fever last Thursday after flying back to Taiwan from his mother country. After a blood test, he was also confirmed on Saturday to have the disease, the department said.

Clean-ups have been launched in possible vector breeding sites in places where the patients live or had stayed, and regular checks on vector sources are being performed, the department noted.

Chikungunya was first described during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952. The name derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning "to become contorted," and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain (arthralgia).

The contagious disease is caused by the chikungunya virus, which is spread between people by two types of mosquitos, Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, the same as the species responsible for spreading the dengue and Zika viruses, according to Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain, and other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.

The incubation period is three to seven days. Most patients recover fully, but in some cases, joint pain may persist for several weeks or months. So far, there is no cure for the disease, and treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

CDC data shows that since chikungunya was recognized as the same type of contagious diseases as dengue fever in Taiwan in 2007, 99 confirmed cases have been recorded, all imported. Most of the cases were contracted in Southeast Asian countries, according to the CDC.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel