Chikungunya- Must Know Facts

2016-10-10
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You remember when in 2006, a lot of people complained of sudden joint pains and fever? That was an epidemic of Chikangunya and it had resulted in abysmal misery.

It is primarily the developing world like a lot many diseases, which gets inflicted by this viral infection. Roughly, each year 3 million people are believed to contract this illness. Despite a humungous incidence of chikangunya, fortunately, only 1 in every 1000 patient dies because of it.

This article brings for you a bunch of facts about chikangunya which you must be aware of.

 

1. What causes chikangunya?

Most people might know that a bite from the Aedes mosquito causes chikungunya to infect an uninfected person. Unlike dengue, chikungunya virus can infect other animals too.

What some people might not know is that blood transfusions and organ transplants can also spread the disease (being a viral infection). Also, vertical transmission (from mother to the fetus) can transmit chikangunya too.

  

2. Stages

Two stages of chikungunya have been identified: a viral stage (first 5 to 7 days), followed by a convalescent (recovery) stage (10 days), during which symptoms improve and the virus vanishes from the blood. 

 

3. Symptoms

Chikungunya is often confused with dengue as the indicators are similar. As a result it is mistreated. In a strict sense, there is no specific treatment for chikungunya. The main idea of treatment is to get rid of the symptoms. Some of the symptoms of chikungunya include:

1.        Fever

Typically, a sudden high grade fever (usually above 102 – 104° °F lasting for a few days to a week (sometimes up to 10 days).

 

2·        Joint pain

Following the fever, strong joint pains or stiffness ensue (for weeks or months, rarely for even years). The joint pain can be intense enough to result in immobility of the affected joints.

This symptom is seen in 87–98% of the cases, and involves more than one joint. People with a previous history of arthritis are more prone to suffer joint ache of worse intensity. Most common joints to get involved are wrist ankle and joints of the hands and feet along with major joints (shoulders, elbows and knees).

The pain is not just confined to joints, but also involves muscles 0r ligaments

 

3·        Rash

In 40-50% of cases, usually observed 3 to 5 days after the onset of symptoms. The pathognomonic rash of chikungunya is a flat, red patch along with small red bumps.

 

4·        Conjunctivitis

Redness of the eyes is also a symptom of chikungunya. However, it can also occur due to other factors. But conjunctivitis accompanied by above mentioned symptoms should a ring a bell.

 

5·        Other symptoms

Other symptoms include headache, stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and insomnia.

The fever subsides as the immune system responds to the presence of virus in the body. Headache, insomnia and exhaustion remain, usually for about 5 to 7 days.

 

4.  Prevention

Simply put, steering away mosquitoes is the most appropriate way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases like chikungunya, dengue and malaria. Keeping surroundings clean with no stagnant, uncovered water would help the cause.

Making sure the blood or the organ is safe before transfusion or transplant is another way through which chikungunya can be prevented. A pregnant woman should be extra cautious because her encounter with the disease would directly affect two lives.

 

Often recklessness and ignorance aggravates the severity of diseases. Thus, symptoms shouldn’t be overlooked. The slightest doubt should be eliminated by visiting a doctor and getting the required investigations done.

 

TAGGED IN : Chikangunya Mosquito Bite

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