The Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Health revealed on Tuesday that 14 people in Koh Rong commune’s Doeum Thkov village are being treated at the provincial referral hospital for fever and red rashes.
The patients are awaiting blood test results to determine if they have chikungunya fever, an outbreak of which occurred in Banteay Meanchey province from July 19 to July 22.
Chikungunya fever is a viral illness that is spread by the bites of infected mosquitoes. It typically lasts from five to seven days and frequently causes severe and often incapacitating joint pain which sometimes persists for much longer periods. It is rarely life-threatening.
Commune police chief Heng Kim Arn said on Monday that nearly 20 people in Doeum Thkov village sought medical treatment at public and private hospitals for fever and rashes.
“There was an outbreak of almost 20 people. They had a fever at first. But I do not know the details. When they were not feeling well, they came to seek medical treatment at the provincial hospital, where they received a medical examination,” he said.
Provincial health department director Lim Samean said 14 patients with symptoms associated with chikungunya fever were hospitalised at the provincial referral hospital as of Tuesday.
She said doctors will not be able to diagnose the patients until they receive their blood results from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) laboratory in Phnom Penh.
Samean confirmed that the patients had come from Koh Rong commune. She said patients with fever from other areas were not yet suspected of having chikungunya fever.
“We haven’t made any conclusion if it’s the same case as in Banteay Meanchey province. We are waiting for the results first,” she said.
She asked people to eliminate water-based Aedes aegypti mosquito habitats which can attract the disease-carrying insects. She also suggested people sleep under a mosquito net and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
If anyone experiences a fever or a red rash, she urged that they visit a health centre as soon as possible.
Provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearum said on Tuesday that initial conclusions from the medical team was that the patients were suffering from chikungunya fever or rubella.
On July 23, the Ministry of Health announced outbreaks of chikungunya in Poipet and Phsar Kandal villages in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet commune. Fever, skin rashes and joint pain were reported by 168 people.
Banteay Meanchey provincial health department director Le Chansangvath told The Post on Tuesday that all of the patients with chikungunya fever who were hospitalised were not suffering from any serious health problems aside from the initial symptoms.
He said the outbreak was controlled after officials sprayed mosquito repellent and provided villagers with the anti-dengue larvicide Abate.
“So far, a few patients remain in hospital. But they do not have any serious health problems,” Chansangvath said.
A ministry press release said chikungunya fever is a public health concern which presents a challenge because Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which transmit the disease between people are highly mobile and can appear anywhere.
The ministry said that chikungunya fever is not life-threatening unless compounded by another illness, such as dengue fever or malaria.
Joint pain can last for months to years but other symptoms typically subside in as little as one week.
The ministry recommends the same prevention methods for chikungunya fever as dengue fever. Eliminating all standing water is recommended because it serves as a breeding ground for infected female mosquitoes, often of the Aedes aegypti species which transmit the infection.