19 imported Chikungunya fever cases reported across Taiwan

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CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) (CNA photo)

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) (CNA photo)

Taipei, July 30 (CNA) A total of 19 cases of imported Chikungunya fever have been reported across Taiwan this year as of July 29 -- with a historical monthly high of 12 cases in July -- the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

The 12 cases in July were the highest number in a single month since the mosquito-borne disease has was first designated a notifiable communicable disease in 2007, the CDC said.

Burma has been the leading source of imported Chikungunya fever in Taiwan this year, accounting for 8 cases, followed by the Maldives with four cases, Indonesia and Thailand with two each, as well as the Philippines, Malaysia and India with one each, according to the CDC.

On Friday, a woman living in New Taipei was diagnosed with Chikungunya fever -- the first indigenous case in Taiwan's history, it said.

The type of Chikungunya fever virus from Burma matched that of the locally acquired disease, according to CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who called on members of the public to be vigilant if they plan to travel to countries in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, there have been 263 cases of imported dengue fever across Taiwan this year as of July 29 -- the highest level over the same period in nearly 10 years, with 22 reported during the past week, according to the CDC.

More than 90 percent of patients were infected with the disease while in Southeast Asian countries, mainly Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines over the past month.

While patients with dengue fever and Chikungunya fever might develop similar symptoms such as a fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, nausea, and fatigue, a CDC doctor said those suffering from Chikungunya fever tend to experience very strong joint pain that lasts from two or three days to a week.

However, Chikungunya fever has a lower mortality rate than dengue fever, the doctor said.