What Is Chikungunya? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
- Posted On 511 Views 0
Chikungunya fever (CHIK) is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected female mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus. The causative organism is an RNA virus of the alphavirus genus, the Togaviriade family. The name chikungunya is derived from a Kimakonde language word meaning “to become contorted” or “to walk bent over,” describing the stooped appearance of those affected with joint pain.
Night-time biting mosquitoes are not significant vectors for Chikungunya. In this disease, infection results in a sudden onset of fever lasting two to twelve days and joint pain with or without swelling of small joints. The joint pain is often very serious, but it usually lasts only a few days or weeks. Sometimes, the joint pain may persist for several months. Some patients also develop a rash.
In this health guide, we will discuss what Chikungunya is and its symptoms, how it is transmitted, the diagnosis, and how to prevent the disease.
What are the symptoms of Chikungunya?
The incubation period for Chikungunya is normally three to seven days. The general symptoms are joint pain and fever. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Symptoms of this disease usually begin 2 to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Below are the most common symptoms:
- Fever: After some time, a person with Chikungunya will develop a high fever, lasting for two to 12 days. The fever will generally go away on its own, without any treatment. If you are worried about the fever, you can visit a doctor, who may prescribe medication to help reduce the fever.
- Joint pain: Severe and incapacitating, often involving multiple joints. The pain can last for several weeks and, in some cases, months. Some people will experience long-term joint pain, even after the fever has subsided.
- Headache: A general feeling of pain or pressure in the head can be one of the symptoms of Chikungunya. Always consult a medical practitioner if you experience severe headaches because they could signify a more serious condition.
- Muscle pain: Muscle aches and pains are other common symptoms of Chikungunya. The pain is often felt in the arms and legs, making it difficult to move around. In order to relieve the pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medication suggested by your doctor.
- Joint swelling: Swelling of the joints is another symptom of Chikungunya. The swelling is usually seen in the hands, wrists, and feet.
- Rash: Usually starts on day two or three of the illness. The rash is often itchy and can spread over the entire body. In some cases, the rash may be accompanied by small blisters.
Chikungunya is a viral disease spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. You should always consult the problem with a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. Early treatment and diagnosis are important to prevent serious complications.
There is no specific treatment for Chikungunya, but the symptoms can be treated with pain relievers and fever-reducing medicines.
What are the Causes Of Chikungunya Cause?
There can be many causes of Chikungunya. It is caused by the chikungunya virus, but the most common one is infection by the chikungunya virus transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito. People who live in or travel to areas where the virus is present can become infected if they are bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. The virus is then transmitted to the person’s bloodstream, where it can cause fever, joint pain, and other symptoms. Below are some of the most general causes of Chikungunya.
- Infection by the chikungunya virus: The chikungunya virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, and it can cause fever, joint pain, and rash. In some cases, Chikungunya can also lead to more serious complications such as pneumonia or meningitis.
- Other causes: There are other viruses that can cause chikungunya-like symptoms, such as dengue fever virus and Zika virus. In addition, certain medications (such as quinine) can also cause chikungunya-like symptoms.
Treatment for Chikungunya typically involves relieving symptoms and supporting the immune system. Till now, there is no specific cure or solution for the virus, so prevention is the best way to protect against it. To reduce your risk of Chikungunya, you can take steps to avoid mosquito bites and limit your exposure to areas where the virus is present.
Is Chikungunya deadly?
In most cases, this infection is not fatal, and those who get infected often recover on their own. Also, someone who has once contracted Chikungunya is unlikely to become infected again. It is essential to see a doctor as soon as the first symptoms appear to rule out other diseases that might have similar symptoms but require different treatments, such as dengue fever.
Although not usually fatal, Chikungunya causes painful and debilitating symptoms. Some patients experience unbearable joint pain for months and even years after infection. In some cases, pain and swelling can lead to disability.
Children, the elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions (such as hypotension or heart disease) are most susceptible to infection. If Chikungunya strikes such a vulnerable person, it can lead to life-threatening complications.
Most healthy adults infected with this virus do not require hospitalization. But the pain during illness can be so severe that patients must stay at home in bed for a week or even several weeks.
In addition, patients need to drink enough liquids; otherwise, the fever can lead to dehydration. Often infected people are advised to sleep surrounded by mosquito nets and use other measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
The infected need thorough care. Intense pain and intense heat can lead to weakness, dehydration, and sometimes other complications, especially if the patient has underlying medical conditions. It is especially important for the elderly and individuals with serious health problems to be under medical supervision, as they may develop breathing problems or other complications caused by fever and pain.
Diagnosis of Chikungunya
There are two common tests available for diagnosis of Chikungunya i.e., detection of antibodies and detection of viral RNA. Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. offer the following tests: Chikungunya IgM antibody and Chikungunya RNA detection by RTPCR. Detection of IgM antibodies is a screening test and a positive test should be confirmed by PCR. IgM antibodies rise in 3-4 days and may persist beyond 3 months. RTPCR is the test of choice as it detects infection earlyon and is diagnostic.
Prevention and treatment of Chikungunya
Prevention of Chikungunya starts with avoiding mosquito bites. The prevention can be done in the following ways:
- During “mosquito season” and when travelling to epidemically affected countries, use a variety of repellents, including products with DEET, Para methane diol, picaridin, IR3535, and lemon eucalyptus oil. All of the above can be quite effective, but be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
- Try to choose accommodation with mosquito nets on the windows or air conditioning when travelling. You can install mosquito nets on windows, doors, and above the bed for added protection.
- Wear long sleeves and trousers. If the skin is covered as much as possible with clothes, you will be less attractive to mosquitoes. In addition, their proboscis passes through clothes with difficulty, if at all.
- Read about Chikungunya before you travel. Find out in advance when to take extra precautions. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can learn more about where this infection occurs and its epidemics.
- If you are travelling to areas where Chikungunya is common, use additional methods to prevent mosquito bites. For example, ensure the hotel has mosquito nets or air conditioners and gets plenty of quality repellents. If you’re going to be outdoors, use coils, sprays, insect repellants, citronella candles, and mosquito traps. Use all possible protection methods simultaneously, as any one will always be insufficient.
- Be especially vigilant during daytime activities. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the two mosquito species most commonly spreading Chikungunya and are most active during the day. Protect babies and young children. If you are traveling or going outside with small children, take additional precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
- Dehydration is a common complication of Chikungunya. Therefore, it is essential to drink enough fluids when you have this infection. If you have a fever, drink plenty of fluids such as water, juice, and soup. You can also use an electrolyte solution to replace the lost fluids and minerals.
- If you have an underlying medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. These conditions can complicate the course of Chikungunya and lead to serious complications.
Is there a vaccine for Chikungunya?
There is no such vaccine yet, and there is no specific treatment. However, visit a doctor at the first symptoms similar to Chikungunya. The hospital will help you manage your symptoms. You may need to be hospitalized if you have an underlying medical condition.
Prevention of Chikungunya with mosquito control
One of the most effective ways to prevent this infection is to reduce the number of mosquitoes and, consequently, their bites. To do this, you can do the following:
- Destroy standing water. Shallow pools, puddles, and buckets are great breeding grounds for mosquitoes. If water has collected in a flower pot or even in a bottle cap, it is better to pour it out so as not to give mosquitoes a chance to breed.
- Wear light-colored clothing. Mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors, so it is best to wear light colors when you are outdoors. Light colors reflect heat, so you will also be cooler, and it will be easier to spot mosquitoes if they land on your clothing.
- Reduce the amount of water near your home. Do you have bird drinkers or a pool? The moving water in the fountains does not attract mosquitoes, and the water in the pools, too, is properly and regularly cleaned. But bird shelves, rain barrels, and animal bowls can cause problems. So that mosquitoes do not want to lay their eggs in these places, you should regularly change the water in the drinkers and cover rain barrels so insects cannot get there.
- Use mosquito traps. The cornerstone in the fight against Chikungunya is to reduce the number of mosquitoes and their bites. One of the options for such a fight is mosquito traps. All traps work differently. Mosquito killers from Mosquito Magnet, for example, attract blood-sucking insects by emitting heated and moistened carbon dioxide and then suck the bloodsuckers into a mesh inside themselves, where the latter dry out and die. The traps are designed to mimic human breathing, which is where female mosquitoes fly.
The more females are killed, the fewer bloodsuckers will be able to breed. The number of mosquitoes on the site will decrease significantly, especially if a sufficiently high impenetrable fence surrounds your yard. Unlike sprays and repellents, traps can work effectively in all weather conditions 24/7.
Chikungunya is a serious disease that can affect a person’s health for days, months, or even years. The pain that comes with this virus can be so intense that it can lead to serious conditions that can be life-threatening. Before travelling, learn more about Chikungunya epidemics and take timely measures to prevent them.
The only truly effective method of protecting against Chikungunya and other mosquito-borne diseasesis to reduce the number of mosquitoes near your home. One solution to this problem is mosquito traps from Mosquito Magnet, and these devices work 24/7 to reduce the mosquito population on your property and protect you from disease.
After reading this article, you know what Chikungunya is, how it is transmitted, and what methods can be used to prevent it. Be sure to take all the necessary measures to protect yourself from this disease, and if you have any symptoms similar to Chikungunya, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. We have also told you about mosquito traps, which can help in the fight against Chikungunya.
In some situations, mosquito traps are the only effective way to reduce the number of mosquitoes near your home and protect yourself from disease. Some people might say that mosquito traps are expensive, but when you compare the cost of a trap to the cost of treatment for Chikungunya, the traps are a bargain.
So don’t wait; get yourself a mosquito trap, and be sure to follow all the recommendations in this article to protect yourself from Chikungunya