Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Chikungunya chase...

I have been following the Chikungunya story even though it's not really a dangerous disease, because it's an intriguing lesson on how an imported disease establishes itself as an endemic one.

As we come out of the rainy season, the mosquito borne diseases should take a bit of a dip. This is not the season when dengue, for example will flare up. Chikungunya has been grumbling along at about 50-60 cases per week but has seen a rather significant drop in number of cases. Last week (week 7 on MOH data) saw 10 new cases, at least one of which was an imported one and 3 pending investigation. For Chikungunya to be endemic, it requires a reservoir to fuel continued infections in the population. It is uncertain if during this relatively dry season we might see a disappearance of the disease or not.

I'm not optimistic. Firstly its not as dry as expected (in fact was raining today). Secondly, there is always a possibility that the virus has adapted an animal reservoir here.

Meanwhile the top 4 hotspots (>10 cases) for Chikungunya are:
Tanjong Kling Road, Leedon Heights, Swiss Club Road and Dalvey Estate. A lot of big houses in those areas...

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