CHIKUNGUNYA TEST AVAILABLE IN UH

The Universiti Hospital is now able to offer the test for chikungunya virus infection. This virus was found to be the cause of a mysterious outbreak of fever, headache, rash, severe backache, joint swelling and pains in Port Klang recently.

Six samples from patients with the mysterious disease were submitted to the Department of Medical Microbiology, Universiti Hospital in January for laboratory diagnosis. Working closely with the Western Australian Centre for Pathology and Medical Research in Perth, all 6 samples were positive for chikumgunya virus.

Dr. Chua Kaw Bing from UH spent a few days in Perth recently and tested another 17 samples, of which 11 were confirmed to be positive for chikungunya. One of the samples was from a female patient seen in UH with the same symptoms but not from the Port Klang area.

The disease is self-limiting but can be quite debilitating, especially in adult females. The virus is spread by Aedes aegypti, the same mosquito vector responsible for the spread of dengue. With the increase in dengue incidence in the country, it will not be surprising to see more cases of chikungunya virus infection in the country.

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