Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a viral disease caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV). It is transmitted from an infected person to a healthy person through the female Aedes mosquito which is also responsible for transmitting dengue. While it is similar to dengue in a lot of ways, the complications arising from it are less severe. The disease usually manifests with symptoms like fever and joint pain. The joint pain can be quite incapacitating and may be accompanied by muscle pain. Other prominent symptoms include skin rashes, headaches, and fatigue. While this is a relatively a controllable disease, it can result in liver damage and internal bleeding.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of chikungunya show up inbetween 3-10 days after being bitten by the infected mosquito.They are as follows:

  • Sudden high fever without any prior underlying infection and can go as high as 103-104.
  • The rash can appear within 48 hours mainly on the face and limbs.
  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eye and increases with eye movement
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty in breathing

Causes

The female Aedes mosquito is responsible for causing Chikungunya.

Diagnosis

Only a blood test can definitively diagnose chikungunya as symptoms are not always easy to tell apart from other conditions.

Treatment

  • Rest in the acute stage of the disease. The patients are prone to dehydration and therefore, are advised to increase their fluid intake
  • Relief of pain and fever by acetaminophen (paracetamol) or ibuprofen, but not in the first three days

    Home remedies that can be tried for treating Chikungunya

    • Consuming ginger tea and green tea can help relieve inflammation.
    • Applying an ice pack on the joint for a while will help reduce inflammation and pain.

Self-Management/Prevention

  • If you already have chikungunya, avoiding getting bitten is still important because the mosquito will transmit the disease from you (infected person) to another non-infected person.
  • Use insect repellents with any of the following ingredients: Picaridin, DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus, to avoid mosquito bites.
  • For example : Odomos, a popularly available mosquito repellent cream.

  • Don’t leave open water spaces in and around your house since the Aedes mosquito often breeds in dark, enclosed spaces. Within your personal space, consider covering overhead tanks or even bathtubs and flower pots where water may stagnate.