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 Hundreds infected with Chikungunya virus.

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PostSubject: Hundreds infected with Chikungunya virus.   Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:36 am

Hundreds infected with Chikungunya virus in NTB, Central Java
Panca Nugraha and Agus Maryono , THE JAKARTA POST , MATARAM, PURWOKERTO | Fri, 02/20/2009 2:55 PM | The Archipelago

Hundreds of residents of North Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara, and dozens more in Banjarnegara, Central Java, have been infected with the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), prompting the respective administrations to declare a status of extraordinary occurrence (KLB).

"We've declared a KLB because the spread is extremely intense," West Nusa Tenggara Health Agency official Muhammad Ismail told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

He added the disease began infecting North Lombok residents in early February, with a steep rise in the last week. At least 456 people, 20 percent of them children, are confirmed to have CHIKV. The cases are spread across 14 villages in the four districts of Tanjung, Pemenang, Gangga and Khayangan.

Of that number, 265 were treated at the Tanjung community health center (puskesmas), 50 at the Pemenang puskesmas, 107 at the Gangga puskesmas and 34 at the Khayangan puskesmas.

Ismail said the actual number of people who had contracted the virus could be much bigger, because many were not being treated at health centers.

"The number of cases fluctuates each day as some recover and others are newly infected. We received 28 new cases today," he said, adding that no fatalities had been reported.

He said that although it was not a deadly disease, Chikungunya could paralyze the joints of infected people.

A mosquito-borne disease, Chi-kungunya is like dengue fever. It is characterized by extremely high fever but differs in its symptom of severe joint pain (arthralgia) that lasts up to a week.

Apart from treating those infected, Ismail said, preventive efforts were also being made in distributing abate powder to the community to pour into wells to cut off the mosquito breeding cycles. Fumigation will also be conducted in the near future in the 14 infected villages.

North Lombok is a new autonomous regency in West Nusa Tenggara, inaugurated at the end of 2008 by the home minister. It was formerly part of West Lombok regency.

In Banjarnegara, East Java, 50 people in the village of Petir and 21 from Kalitengah, both in Purwonegoro district, were reported to have contracted CHIKV within the last two weeks.

Banjarnegara Health Agency head Yusrie Husein said the disease might have spread from neighboring Kebumen regency, because many of the residents first infected were loggers working in forests in Kebumen.

"We're sure about this because we've never had Chikungunya in Banjarnegara before," said Yusrie, adding the loggers admitted suffering fevers before leaving their work sites in Kebumen.

"We're still providing free medication and medical treatment for them, because many of them come from impoverished families."

Hundreds infected with Chikungunya virus in NTB, Central Java
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