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Chikungunya virus has mutated offering greater risk, warns doctor

Aug 21. 2019
Photo Courtesy of Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs FC (facebook.com/604030819763686/)
Photo Courtesy of Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs FC (facebook.com/604030819763686/)
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By The Nation

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Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a respiratory and critical care specialist at Bangkok’s Vichaiyut Hospital, went online to warn Bangkok residents that the chikungunya virus, spread through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, has mutated allowing one mosquito to be the carrier of both chikungunya and dengue viruses.

He also pointed out that in the past 30 days, his hospital has treated 13 chikungunya patients compared to none last year. 

Posting the warning on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/604030819763686/), the doctor cited the case of a generally healthy 33-year-old Thai Bangkok resident, who suddenly developed a high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain as well as red eyes. Two days later she developed a rash and her white-blood cell count dropped to 1,900, the doctor said, adding that a lab test confirmed she had chikungunya. After being treated accordingly, she recovered within eight days. 

According to the Disease Control Department, as of August 14, a total of 6,289 people in 45 provinces had been infected by chikungunya virus or a ratio of 9.52 persons for every 100,000, which is the highest in five years. 

Most of the patients or 4,988 were in the South, followed by 1,008 in the North, 143 in the Central region and 78 in the Northeast. The southern provinces of Tak, Pattani, Phitsanulok, Surat Thani, and Songkhla were the worst hit.

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