Filipino confirmed as 1st chikungunya case in Taiwan this year

Taipei-A migrant worker from the Philippines has been confirmed as having Taiwan's first imported case of the mosquito-borne contagious disease chikungunya this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Filipino was detected as having a fever upon his arrival at Kaohsiung International Airport on Jan. 2. Two days later, he was confirmed to have been infected with the chikungunya virus after a blood test, a CDC statement said.

According to the CDC's epidemiological investigation, the Filipino flew alone to Taiwan for contract work in Tainan, which neighbors Kaohsiung. It was his first time in the country, the CDC said.

After seeing that the traveler was sick, the airport quarantine station referred him to a hospital in Kaohsiung for treatment.

As a result, "no one in the community was exposed to the virus," the CDC said, noting that the man was discharged from the hospital on Monday in good health.

Since chikungunya was listed as a notifiable infectious disease in Taiwan in October 2007, there have been 106 confirmed cases in the country, all of them originating abroad.

A total of 91 percent originated in Southeast Asia, including 57 cases from Indonesia and 24 cases from the Philippines, CDC data showed.

Chikungunya is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the tropical and subtropical areas of Central and South America.

Epidemics in South Asia, including Pakistan and India, have continued to persist, while sporadic cases have occurred in countries in Southeast Asia, including Singapore and Thailand, the CDC said.

The symptoms of chikungunya are similar to those of dengue fever, and include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash and joint pain.

In some cases, joint pain can affect the patient's movement for as long as several months.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel