The Ratanakkiri Provincial Department of Health is planning to launch a campaign to eradicate mosquito larvae and prevent aedes aegypti mosquitoes from breeding after dozens of chikungunya cases were reported in the province.

As of May 25, a total of 230 suspected cases of chikungunya, or chik, were reported in 11 provinces across Cambodia, according to information from the National Dengue Surveillance System at the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control. More than 90 per cent of the cases were found in Ratanakkiri, Kampong Chhnang and Prey Veng provinces.

A report from the parasitology centre seen by The Post on May 30 said that in Ratanakkiri the number of cases had increased sharply from 14 cases in April to 76 cases as of May 10.

According to the report, as of May 25 a total of 175 suspected cases had been reported from eight villages in O’Chum and Bakeo districts. The local authorities have claimed that around 40-70 per cent of those villages’ families were experiencing similar symptoms.

Chik is transmitted to humans through the bite of female mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, mainly Aedes aegypti.

Chik was first identified in Cambodia in 1961. Since 2000, blood samples have been collected from sentinel hospitals that are part of the Dengue Surveillance System such as Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham and Takeo provinces, and then sent to the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge in Phnom Penh for testing.

Eng Kunvuth, chief of the Rattanakiri provincial health department’s communicable disease bureau, told The Post that the Chik situation was not overly-concerning and that he was monitoring its development.

“This week, I will also launch a campaign to administer the anti-dengue larvicide Abate in 500 villages in 52 communes in nine districts of Ratanakkiri province. We have 10 tonnes of Abate to eradicate mosquito larvae and prevent aedes aegypti mosquitoes from breeding,” he said.

The last Chik outbreak occurred in 2020 and affected 22 provinces with a total of 7,200 cases. Provinces located in the west of the country accounted for more than 80 per cent of the total reported cases during that outbreak. It affected all age groups – ranging from one-years-old to 80 years of age, according to the centre.