64 Albay villagers down with Chikungunya; outbreak seen
By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY --- At least 64 villagers fell ill of suspected Chikungunya fever that struck eight barangays in Guinobatan town in Albay, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) said yesterday. A team of provincial epidemiology was sent on Tuesday to check reports by the town municipal health unit that Chikungunya a mosquito-borne disease hit the villages of Pablacion with 32 cases, Muladbukad Pequena with 26 cases, while the barangays of Iawod, San Francisco, Malabnig, Banao, Masarawag and Maninila have one each reported cases, according to Dr. Antonio Loduvice, acting Provincial Health Officer. An initial report sent by Dra. Joanna Limos, Guinobatan municipal health officer, claimed that the people that fell ill manifested with on and off fever, skin rashes and joint pains on extremities -- clinical symptoms of Chikungunya. The Municipal Health Office reported that cases of dengue-like symptoms were observed since April but during health surveillance, the cases of the mosquito-borne virus turned out to be Chikungunya cases. The PHO said that a possible outbreak could be declared following the significant rise in the number of people that fell ill due to Chikungunya fever in Guinobatan town. As this developed, Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara directed the PHO to closely coordinate with the MHO and carry out disease control measure to stop the possible spread of the disease. A PHO epidemiology surveillance team has started gathering laboratory examinations from the patients and these would be sent to the Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol for analysis. The PHO medical team dispatches medicines to treat the patients suffering from the disease. In previous years, at least 100 people fell ill of Chikungunya fever that struck two villages in Sto Domingo and a village in Batan Island in Rapu-rapu all in Albay. As a counter measure against the disease, the PHO urged local government units to organize “Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue,” a surveillance team, from the provincial down to the barangay level. The PHO urged residents to observe the Four O’clock Habit so as to help eliminate mosquito breeding places.