An ECDC summary of global chikungunya cases flagged an increase of more than 2,300 cases since the last update, while Malaysia has seen a smaller rise (just over 600 cases), affecting mainly Perak and Penang. However it’s Brazil that has been hardest hit with chikungunya infections – almost 11,000 new cases since the previous report. The summary includes data on dengue fever, adding that ‘Since the beginning of the year, the majority of the cases were reported by Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Indonesia’. Thailand’s 2020 dengue count has now topped 25,000 and includes 15 deaths – most affected provinces are Chaiyaphum, Rayong, Khon Kaen, Mae Hong Son and Nakhon Ratchasima.
Advice for travellers
The symptoms of chikungunya fever are similar to dengue fever and both are transmitted by day-time feeding Aedes mosquitoes. Acute joint pain with a rash is typical of chikungunya and while fatal cases are rare, painful joints may persist for weeks or months after the acute phase has ended. There is no vaccine or prevention medication; using an effective, tropical-strength repellent to avoid insect bites is the best form of protection. Read more about chikungunya.
Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.