17 Apr 2013

PNG medical institute warns about potential spread of chikungunya

8:35 pm on 17 April 2013

Papua New Guinea's Institute of Medical Research says the mosquito spread disease, chikungunya, poses a significant worry for many in the country.

The Institute's Dr Paul Horwood says chikungunya has now spread through about eight provinces, after first appearing a year ago in Vanimo near the Indonesian border.

He says death from the disease is rare with the worst features typically a fever or arthritis.

But Dr Horwood says the arthritis sometimes lasts for up to a year which can be very debilitating for people in a predominantly farming based society, such as PNG.

He says there are things people can do to guard against the day biting mosquitoes which carry the virus.

"The mosquitoes usually live around habitation. So by cleaning up the area around your house and perhaps wearing long trousers and long [sleeved] shirts and reducing the access the mosquito can have to your body to bite you then that can certainly reduce your expose and decrease your chances of getting sick."

Dr Paul Horwood.