‘State of Calamity’ Declared on a Philippines Island Due to Chikungunya Virus Outbreak
One of the central islands in the Philippines has been placed under a ‘state of calamity'.
As of August 2, 2018, the local health officials of Maripipi, which is a coastal island located in the northernmost part of Biliran Province, in the Philippines, confirmed 101 chikungunya cases.
Most cases of Chikungunya are reported in the center and south of the country.
The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) said the current number of chikungunya cases is notably higher than the 8 cases recorded in 2016.
Despite this chikungunya outbreak, Dr. Gabino S. Velasquez IV, with the Rural Health Unit of Maripipi downplayed the severity of this mosquito-borne disease on an August 4th phone-patch interview.
“Chikungunya is not a communicable or a contagious disease,” said Dr. Velasquez.
Dr. Velasquez said since there is not a commercially available vaccine nor antidote medicine for Chikungunya, affected patients can take medicines, such as Paracetamol for fever, and Mefenamic Acid for joint and body pains.
However, aspirin is not advised to be taken as medicine, as it may cause bleeding on the affected patient, Dr. Velasquez said.
There are several chikungunya vaccines in clinical trials:
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has granted PRIority MEdicines (PRIME) designation to MV-CHIK vaccine candidate to prevent chikungunya fever.
A specialty vaccine company announced that its vaccine for the prevention of disease caused by the chikungunya virus has received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Chikungunya is a viral infection caused by the CHIK virus belonging to the Togaviridae family. The virus is transmitted through the bite of infected daytime biting female mosquitoes, primarily Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.
Chikungunya is rarely fatal, says the World Health Organization (WHO).
Symptoms are generally self-limiting and last for 2–3 days. The virus remains in the human system for 5-7 days and mosquitoes feeding on an infected person during this period can also become infected.
Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. Chikungunya can be detected using serological tests. Recovery from an infection will confer lifelong immunity, says the WHO.
Chikungunya has been identified by the WHO in over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
As of August 2, 2018, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), had not issued a chikungunya virus Travel Alert for the Philippines.