GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Health personnel in South Cotabato province are closely monitoring at least two municipalities due to the emergence of confirmed cases of the chikungunya disease in the last several weeks.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) chief, said Tuesday they have intensified their disease surveillance activities in T’boli and Polomolok towns after two persons have already tested positive of chikungunya.

He said the confirmed chikungunya cases were from Poblacion in T’boli and Poblacion in Polomolok.

“Our surveillance activities are currently ongoing and we’re doing everything to prevent another chikungunya outbreak,” he said in a media forum.

Aturdido was referring to the outbreak of the viral disease in June 2013 in Koronadal City and Tampakan town that affected around 700 residents.

The chikungunya cases were reported in Barangay Kipalbig in Tampakan town, which was placed under the state of calamity due to the rising incidence of the disease then.

Cecile Lorenzo, IPHO’s disease surveillance officer, said the chikungunya cases were initially monitored in T’boli town late last month.

She said eight persons in Barangay Poblacion exhibited symptoms of suspected chikungunya but only one of them later tested positive of the disease.

In Polomolok, she said four suspected cases were treated in Barangay Poblacion and one of them also tested positive of chikungunya.

“There was a clustering of cases in both areas so we immediately intervened as it could lead to possible outbreaks,” she told PNA.

Lorenzo said the situation in both areas is already considered under control but they sustained their surveillance activities for possible new cases that might emerge.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Media Center, chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes and causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rashes.

The disease, the WHO said, “shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.”

It added that there is “no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.”

“The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya,” it said. PNA