In Myanmar, a family of four has contracted mosquito-borne diseases. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that one member is infected with dengue fever and the other three have contracted chikungunya. Both dengue and chikungunya is mosquito-borne and these diseases occur generally in and around the monsoon season. They affect sub-tropical and tropical countries.
Dengue and chikungunya are viral diseases with very similar symptoms. Both have symptoms such as high fever, headache, eye pain, joint pain, rashes and lethargy. Both viral infections are spread by Aedes mosquito. However, identifying the exact disease is critical since dengue is much more dangerous and may need emergency medical intervention. It is also possible for a patient to have dengue and chikungunya at the same time (coinfection). The most distinguishing feature of dengue is bleeding.
The family from northern Taiwan visited their relatives in Mandalay and Yangon from late June to last week, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching told Taipei Times, adding that quarantine officers at the airport detected a fever affecting the father upon their arrival.
A quick test showed that the man in his 50s had been infected with dengue fever, but his wife, who is in her 30s, and their four-year-old and six-year-old daughters showed no signs of infection, he said.
Officers ordered blood tests for the three, which all returned positive for chikungunya fever, Lin said.
Symptoms of chikungunya fever include sudden fever, joint pain, headaches, muscle ache, fatigue, conjunctivitis and rashes, but studies have shown that up to 30 percent of infected people might not experience any symptoms, Lin said.
While chikungunya fever is usually not fatal, it can sometimes cause serious complications, especially in newborns, elderly people or those with chronic hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, he added.
CDC disease monitoring data as of Monday showed 69 confirmed cases of chikungunya fever in Myanmar so far this year. The CDC has raised its travel health notice for Myanmar to level two, or “alert,” for chikungunya fever, CDC Deputy Director General Philip Lo said, advising people traveling to Myanmar to take measures to prevent mosquito bites.
Preventive measures include wearing light-colored and long-sleeved clothing, and applying insect repellent, National Taiwan University Hospital New Southbound Health Center executive director Peng Jen-kuei said.