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Taiwan records first-ever indigenous case of chikungunya fever

2019/07/26 18:52:24

Photo courtesy of New Taipei health authorities

Taipei, July 26 (CNA) A woman living in New Taipei has been diagnosed with chikungunya fever, the first indigenous case in Taiwan's history, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Friday.

The patient, who is in her 20s, had not traveled abroad before the onset of symptoms that included fever, joint pains, a headache and a rash on July 21, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

The patient is currently recovering at home where she has isolated herself from others, said Chuang, who noted that so far none of the people who made contact with the woman before she went into isolation have developed any suspicious symptoms.

According to the CDC, the woman lives in a neighborhood where foreign migrant workers gather frequently.

The patient remembered being bitten by mosquitoes during outdoor activities in the neighborhood, leading the CDC to wonder if there were hidden imported cases of the mosquito-borne disease in that area, Chuang said.

"The virus will remain in the body of a mosquito a few days after it bites an infected person," he explained.

Like dengue fever, chikungunya fever is transmitted by virus-carrying mosquitoes and has an incubation period of two to 12 days. Also like dengue fever, the symptoms of chikungunya include the abrupt onset of a fever, headaches, joint and muscle pains, nausea, and fatigue, according to Chuang.

Around half of the people who are infected with chikungunya fever will develop a rash on the body, Chuang said, but he noted that patients generally recover from the virus.

He said most patients get better within a week, and the fatality rate of the disease is one in 1,000.

There have been 17 confirmed chikungunya cases in Taiwan this year, 16 of them imported cases, the most ever in the first seven months of the year in Taiwan.

Six have come from Myanmar, four from Maldives, two from Indonesia, and one each from Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and India, Chuang said.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)