TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday (March 23) announced its first imported chikungunya fever case for the year.
During a press conference on Tuesday, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) announced this year's first imported case of chikungunya fever. The latest case is an Indonesian man in his 20s who came to Taiwan for work on March 16 of this year.
When he arrived in Taiwan, he was found to be suffering from a fever. Quarantine officers then tested him for dengue fever, but the results came back negative.
After receiving the negative results, he was tested for COVID-19 and transported to a hospital to undergo medical treatment. Blood tests taken at the airport revealed he was positive for chikungunya fever.
He has been placed in a hospital isolation ward, while his two travel companions are currently asymptomatic.
Since the mosquito-borne disease was first designated a notifiable communicable disease in 2007, Taiwan has recorded a total of 232 confirmed cases. This includes 21 local cases and 211 imported cases.
Of the imported cases, 90 percent were infected in Southeast Asian countries, with Myanmar at 70 comprising the majority, followed by Indonesia at 62 and the Philippines at 28. Recently, many countries in Southeast Asia, such as Thailand and Malaysia, have reported a low level of infections.
The total cumulative reported cases in the region so far this year has reached 100, which is lower than the same period last year. However, in a recent outbreak in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, more than 50 cases have been reported since Feb. 16.
According to the CDC, the manner in which the disease is transmitted is the same for dengue fever, in that it is passed on through a bite of the Asian tiger mosquito or the Aedes aegypti. The incubation period is two to 12 days, while the infectious period ranges from two days before the onset of symptoms to five days afterward.
Symptoms of chikungunya fever include sudden fever, joint pain or arthritis (especially in small joints of hands and feet, wrists, and ankles), headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle pain, and a rash in about half of patients.
Most patients recover from the disease in about seven to 10 days.
The CDC urges people planning to travel to Southeast Asia and other areas where chikungunya fever is endemic to take measures to avoid exposure to mosquitoes, such as wearing light-colored, long-sleeve shirts and long pants. Also highly advised is the use of government-approved insect repellant that contains DEET, picaridin, or IR3535, and to stay indoors behind screened doors and windows.
The CECC reminds the public that if they experience any symptoms of chikungunya fever when arriving from abroad, they should notify the airport and port quarantine personnel and cooperate with epidemic prevention measures. If they experience suspicious symptoms during their quarantine, they are advised to contact the health department or a local healthcare center and avoid public transportation.
When seeking medical treatment, people should be sure to inform the doctor of their travel history, occupation, and contact history, and compile a TOCC (travel, occupation, contact, and cluster) report for timely diagnosis and notification. For more information, visit the CDC website or call the toll-free epidemic prevention hotline 1922 (or 0800-001922).