Public health officials in Cambodia recently reported that they have seen 1,500 cases of the dengue-like illness Chikungunya in the last year.
Dr. Char Meng Chuor, the director of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, said that Chikungunya was first seen in Cambodia in 1961, but then disappeared. He said there have been no deaths related to the illness since the outbreak began, according to Xinhua
World Health Organization epidemiologist Steven Bjorge said the illness has re-emerged over the last nine months, according to PhnomPenhPost.com
"It's been moving through India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand; now it appears it has reached Cambodia," Bjorge said, PhnomPenhPost.com
Because the symptoms of Chikungunya are similar to dengue and the virus is carried by the same species of mosquito, cases are often misdiagnosed. Dengue symptoms, according to Bjorge, are generally more severe and are often life-threatening.
"The problem is that with those viruses, there is no drug to stop the symptoms, likewise there is no vaccine. The only thing we have left is to protect...against mosquitoes," Bjorge said, PhnomPenhPost.com
Health officials have distributed 90 tons of Abate, a chemical used to kill mosquito larvae. They anticipate distributing an additional 180 tons in preparation for the rainy season.