The number of dengue cases in Malaysia are at the highest they’ve ever been, with 80,000 cases and 113 deaths reported from January until August, reported The Star. Dengue is transmitted through the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with dengue virus, but now, it looks like contracting dengue fever isn’t the only thing we need to worry about when we get bitten by mosquitoes.
According to respiratory and critical care specialist, Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a mosquito carrying the dengue virus can also carry the chikungunya virus. This is possible because the chikungunya virus has mutated, allowing one Aedes mosquito to be the carrier of both viruses at the same time, thus being able to infect the person it bites with either of the viruses, reported The Star.
Chikungunya virus is very similar to the dengue virus, and those infected will experience symptoms like fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash, 3-12 days after getting bitten by an infected mosquito, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr Manoon recently shared on Facebook that Vichaiyut Hospital has treated 13 chikungunya patients in the last 30 days compared to none last year. 13 cases in one month compared to zero in one year? That’s quite a difference!
He also shared a case of a generally healthy 33-year-old Bangkok resident who had suddenly started experiencing headache, high fever, red eyes and muscle and joint pain. Two days later, she also developed a rash and her white blood cell count dropped to 1,900.
The normal range for the white blood cell count is usually between 4,300 and 10,800 cells per cubic millimeter of blood, according to MedicineNet.Dr Manoon added that the woman was confirmed to have chikungunya after tests were conducted. She recovered within eight days after receiving treatment.
As of 14th August, a total of 6,289 people in 45 provinces have been infected by chikungunya virus, which is the highest number of cases in five years. Most of the patients were in the South of Thailand, with a count of 4,988 cases, followed by 1,008 in the North, 143 in the Central region and 78 in the Northeast.International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT) reported on 19th July 2019 that “Malaysia has confirmed cases of Chikungunya”. They also said that “there is no preventive medication or vaccine against Chikungunya”.
Well, you know what to do – clean out all pots and containers that have stagnant water and maintain swimming pools or ponds with proper care. Apply insect repellent whenever possible and close your house windows as much as you can.
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