MANILA, Philippines – Eight provinces where cases were found of patients having both mosquito-borne diseases chikungunya and dengue are now the focus of a special investigation by the Department of Health.
DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag named the towns as Villareal and Daram, Western Samar; Kamba and Maitum, Saranggani; Ma. Aurora, Aurora; Sta. Rita, Samar; Sindangan in Zamboanga del Norte; Concepcion, Romblon; Santiago, Agusan and Patnongon, Antique.
Tayag said these were chosen because they showed up cases of residents found suffering from the two mosquito-borne diseases at the same time. “There was no chikungunya in these areas before. We are looking into this now,” Tayag said.
Doctors might not easily distinguish the rarely fatal chikungunya from the often deadly dengue in the first five days of the illness, and this worries the DOH, Tayag explained.
From Jan. 1 to June 30, there was a total of 2,594 suspected chikungunya nationwide but only 157 were confirmed as such, according to DOH data.
Dengue and chikungunya have nearly the same symptoms but the latter is hardly fatal and is characterized by long-term joint pains. Dengue could have severe complications like severe bleeding and respiratory distress, sometimes leading to death.