13 Singaporean students contract Chikungunya fever on trip to Thai village

Chikungunya fever is an infectious disease that is transmitted by the same mosquito that spreads the Zika and dengue viruses — the Aedes aegypti mosquito. ― AFP pic
Chikungunya fever is an infectious disease that is transmitted by the same mosquito that spreads the Zika and dengue viruses — the Aedes aegypti mosquito. ― AFP pic

SINGAPORE, June 3 ― Thirteen students and a teacher from the School of the Arts (Sota) contracted chikungunya fever while on a community service learning trip to a village in Thailand’s Ratchaburi province last week.

Six students remain hospitalised in Bangkok as of today, said the school in a statement.

Chikungunya fever is an infectious disease that is transmitted by the same mosquito that spreads the Zika and dengue viruses — the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Its symptoms could include a sudden onset of fever, prolonged joint and muscle pains, joint swelling, fatigue, and rash, among others.

The condition is not as life-threatening as dengue, however.

In a statement to TODAY today, Sota principal Mary Seah said apart from the six students who are “recovering well” in the hospital, 19 other students who were part of the same trip — which had to be cut short due to the incident — have returned to Singapore.

“Our school’s main focus was on our students’ and teachers’ well-being, thus we spared no effort to ensure that they receive medical attention and return home to their families as soon as possible,” she said.

Noting that some Sota teachers are still stationed in Thailand to monitor the remaining students’ conditions, she added: “Parents have been kept in the loop of every development along the way and we are very grateful for their support and encouragement given to one another and to the staff and students.”

The incident was first reported by the Straits Times yesterday. The students, aged 15 to 17, were on a service learning trip scheduled from May 25 to June 4.

According to the Health Ministry’s (MOH) latest weekly infectious disease bulletin, published on May 29, nine Chikungunya cases were diagnosed here in the first 21 weeks of 2019. There were only two cases in the same period last year.

The last reported case here was in the week of April 21 to 27.

TODAY has reached out to MOH for comment. ― TODAY

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