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Taiwan Health Agency Issues Advisory to Travellers Visiting Myanmar for Chikungunya, Zika

Representative Image (Photo: Reuters)

Representative Image (Photo: Reuters)

The travel advisory on chikungunya infection warns against all non-essential travel to Myanmar, the Maldives, Thailand and India, which are countries where the virus has been brought into Taiwan since July.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of Taiwan has issued a level one travel health notice for chikungunya fever and a level two notice for Zika for people travelling to Myanmar, reported the Taipei Times. Notably, the level one health notice urges people to exercise normal precautions while the level two notice is for exercising increased caution.

The travel advisory on chikungunya infection warns against all non-essential travel to Myanmar, the Maldives, Thailand and India, which are countries where the virus has been brought into Taiwan since July.

According to the Taipei Times, CDC says that 25 chikungunya fever cases have been confirmed this year, 12 of which were from Myanmar. Notably, chikungunya is a mosquito-borne disease that is transmitted by the bites of infected mosquitos. It is imperative that travellers practice precautions related to preventing mosquito bites, such as using insect repellant and wearing long-sleeved clothes.

Symptoms of chikungunya include fever, joint pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and muscle pain. For travellers who experience these discomforts, they should seek medical assistance urgently.

Zika is another mosquito-borne disease that is affecting Myanmar and CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said that travellers to Myanmar or other Southeast Asian countries where the Zika virus, chikungunya fever and dengue fever are spreading should protect against mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves, using government-approved insect repellents and staying in places with screened windows and doors.

Notably, 2019 saw the first cases of chikungunya in Myanmar in 10 years, according to the Department of Public Health. Dr Aung Mon, a staff officer with the Public Health Department’s Vector Borne Disease Control Programme who was speaking at a talk on sharing experience in dealing with chikungunya at a meeting of the Myanmar Medical Association in Yangon last Friday revealed that there were no reported cases of chikungunya in Myanmar from 2011 to 2018 and that all cases were from the current year, reported Myanmar Times.

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