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Chikungunya literally means “that which bends up” because the afflicted patients curtail themselves to a hunched posture due to extreme joint pains. This disease is a Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases (DVBID) and is predominantly seen in the parts of India, Africa and Southeast Asia. The virus called arbovirus (Buggy Creek virus) is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti or yellow fever mosquitoes). Aedes albopictus also plays a role in transmitting the arbovirus. Further, the life-cycle of the virus is sustained by mosquito to human transmission. 

In India, the first outbreak of this disease was reported in 1963, since then there have been around 1,80,000 reports of the disease in various parts of India. Chikungunya is non-transmissible between humans and not a fatal disease.

Causes of Chikungunya

  • Mosquito bite from Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus infected with the arbovirus can lead to symptoms of chikungunya

Symptoms and Signs of Chikungunya

  • Chills
  • High grade fever (up to 104 degree Celsius) and typical joint pain is the characteristics of chikungunya.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Inflammation of joints causing pain and restriction of movements. There can be tenderness and swelling of the joints also.
  • Maculopapular rashes ( skin rashes in limbs)
  • Arthralgia (body ache)

Complications associated with Chikungunya

  • Slight photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Neurological symptoms mostly in children and pregnant women
  • Hemorrhage, rarely
  • Prolonged period of severe joint pain

Diagnosis of Chikungunya

A general check-up is accomplished by the health care provider. Blood test is advised (EIA- enzyme immunoassay (or ELISA) to confirm the presence of the arbovirus. Further confirmation can be done with Hemagglutination Inhibition Assay (HIA), a neutralization test. In few cases, laboratory diagnosis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the susceptible arbovirus infected person is performed

Treatment of Chikungunya

There is no specific vaccine or antiviral treatments to relieve chikungunya fever. This illness heals by itself after short time period. The affected people should take symptomatic medicines such as analgesics and antipyretics as per the doctor’s advice. They should also drink enough fluids and take complete rest for early recovery.

Prevention of Chikungunya

  • Stagnant waters in buckets, pet feeders, tire swings should be cleared up.
  • Mosquito bites can be prevented by using DEET (N, N-Diethyl Meta toluamide) containing products such as sprays.
  • Wear long pants and full sleeves clothes that are treated with repellant.
  • Use a mosquito net to limit the exposure to mosquitoes.

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Health Tips

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