A doctor in Thailand has warned that chikungunya virus has mutated allowing the Aedes mosquito to be the carrier of both chikungunya and dengue viruses. Chikungunya which shares some clinical signs with dengue and zika can be misdiagnosed in areas where the two latter mosquito-borne diseases are common, according to World Health Organisation.
Taking to Facebook on August 21, Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a respiratory and critical care specialist at Bangkok’s Vichaiyut Hospital, said that the healthcare facility had treated 13 chikungunya patients in the past 30 days compared to none last year.
The doctor cited the case of a “generally healthy” 33-year-old Bangkok resident, who suddenly developed a high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain as well as red eyes, The Nation Thailand reported.
Two days later the woman developed a rash and her white-blood cell count dropped to 1,900 as a lab test confirmed she had chikungunya, the doctor added.
The woman recovered after eight days of treatment at the hospital, Dr Leechawengwongs said.
According to Thailand’s Disease Control Department, as of August 14, a total of 6,289 people in 45 provinces had been infected by chikungunya virus . The ratio of 9.52 persons for every 100,000 is the highest in five years.
4,988 patients were reported to be from the South, followed by 1,008 in the North, 143 in the Central region and 78 in the Northeast.
The southern provinces of Tak, Pattani, Phitsanulok, Surat Thani, and Songkhla were the worst hit.
First discovered during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952, Chikungunya is an RNA virus that belongs to the alphavirus genus of the family Togaviridae. The mosquito- borne disease derives its name from a verb in the Kimakonde language, which means “to become contorted”.
Chikungunya patients experience an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain besides common signs and symptoms of muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Like other mosquito-borne diseases, there is no targeted treatment currently available for Chikungunya and Dengue.