HEALTHY LYF: Chikungunya virus on the move

DOH:  cases of dengue-like mosquito-borne disease now rising

Little did we know that aside from dengue, there are many other life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases that have hounded Filipinos for decades.  Though there is no vaccine available in the country to cure these illnesses, preventive measures are available to assure safety of adults and children alike.

Last October, the Department of Health (DOH) warned the public to take extra precautions against the chikungunya virus.  The DOH confirmed that there were 150 recorded cases of this dengue-like disease last month.  And last year, more than 1,000 cases of chikungunya were recorded in the country.

The origin

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus first reported in Africa in 1952 and has spread in Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Europe and United States, infecting millions. Believed to be derived from an East African dialect that means “to be contorted,” chikungunya describes the curved posture of patients experiencing severe joint pain.  

Just like dengue, chikungunya virus was caused primarily by Aedes aegypti, the daytime biting mosquito and by Aedes albopictus, a species of mosquito that bites most actively at night. 

The warning signs

Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue as both manifest skin rashes and a high fever.  Its most distinctive characteristic though is severe joint pain which usually ends within a few days or weeks. Although a number of patients fully recover after a few days or weeks, there are some cases that joint pain or arthritis may persist for several months, or even years. Another distinct factor between dengue and chikungunya is that the former affects mostly children, while the later affects adults.

The transmission

DOH expressed fear that the virus might spread more widely because it survives in temperate climates, the Philippines included.    Increases in global travel and climate change might have encouraged its spread.

Though no vaccine or specific treatment for the disease has been discovered yet and treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms only, there are preventive measures against the virus. 

Level-up protection

Prevention and control rely heavily on getting rid of the natural and artificial water-filled breeding grounds of the mosquitoes.  Unattended bottles, cans and tires with water inside are the usual breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and if left unchecked, a single pool of water can produce hundreds of chikungunya virus-carrying mosquitoes. 

Though clothing which minimizes skin exposure to these vectors is advisable; it is more prudent to use insect repellent lotions that can be applied anytime. And the most ideal insect repellent lotion is one that is effective not only against daytime-biting mosquitoes, but also mosquitoes that bite at night.

The new Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion is proven effective against both day and night mosquitoes, known carriers of both the dengue and chikungunya virus. It is ideal for families because it has long-lasting protection of up to10 hours, is hypoallergenic, and provides anti-bacterial protection that the Green Cross brand has always been known for. 

The breakthrough discovery on day and night dengue-lamok teaches us to level up our anti-dengue measures. Now, with an additional threat on the move – chikungunya virus – this further teaches us to act on an urgent threat:  we need to change our mindsets and recognize the fact that insect repellent lotion may effectively protect us against these disease-carrying mosquitoes.  

A single mosquito bite may be deadly.  Do not let these pesky bugs come near you or your loved ones.  Use Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion as it may not only save your body from big red marks but also from serious illnesses like the chikungunya virus.

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