SONGKHLA: An outbreak of the chikungunya virus, an infection which typically occurs in Africa, has been reported in Hat Yai City, necessitating a campaign to educate people about the disease and preventive measures, a doctor said.
Dr Kriangsak Liewchanpattana said dozens of patients have sought treatment and advice at his clinic in the city, a tourism and economic hub in this southern province.
He said the disease first spread in southern Africa, particularly in Tanzania and Mozambique. It first became known 65 years ago as "gungunwala". People infected with the disease develop symptoms of fever and joint pain.
The disease is spread between people by stripe mosquitos, which also spread dengue fever.
Patients of both chikungunya and dengue fever both suffer from high fever, but those affected by chikungunya additionally suffer from pain in the ankle, wrist and finger joints.
Dr Kriangsak said the best means of prevention is general mosquito control and avoiding being bitten in areas where the disease is common.
Measures include preventing mosquitos from having access to water and the use of insect repellent and mosquito nets.
He said there are no specific medicines to treat chikungunya. Most chikungunya patients are given pain and fever medications.