The Provincial Health Office of Cavite in the Calabarzon region on Luzon island has declared an outbreak of the mosquito borne viral disease, chikungunya, after detecting 400 suspected cases, Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson Dr. Eric Tayag said Friday during a radio interview.

tayagThe 400 cases have been reported since the beginning of the year and the bulk of the cases have been reported from the municipality of Indang.

“It’s because in our records, Indang is still a hot zone but you have to understand that the data we receive are two weeks in between. Maybe they have a new report that’s why they declared an outbreak,” he said.

Tayag went on to say that the Calabarzon region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) that had the highest number of reported suspected cases of chikungunya this year.

Since 2013, chikungunya outbreaks have occurred in Antique, Bataan, and Iloilo but no deaths have been reported. The outbreaks typically coincide with dengue season.

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache. The joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability.

There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites.