Sep 21, 2022
Transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito, chikungunya is a viral disease that is characterised by symptoms including severe joint pain and fever. Chikungunya is caused by the bite of a female mosquito that is carrying the chikungunya virus. It cannot be transmitted from person to person but at times is known to have been transmitted through contact with an infected person’s blood as well. Infection from the chikungunya virus is rarely fatal, but its symptoms can get quite severe, lasting for long periods of time.
The Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquitoes are the two types of mosquitoes that are the main causes of chikungunya transmission. If the mosquito bites an infected person, it can transmit the virus to a healthy person through its bite. The Aedes Aegypti is mostly found in tropical countries, while Aedes Albopictus can be found in different parts of the world due to its ability to survive in different climatic conditions.
The symptoms of chikungunya are quite similar to those of diseases like dengue. They generally start appearing within a few days of getting infected and of all symptoms, the most prolonged symptom caused by chikungunya is joint pain. Ranging from mild to severe, the symptoms of the chikungunya disease include:
Less common, rare symptoms of chikungunya fever include maculopapular rash, conjunctivitis, nausea, vomiting, etc.
As the symptoms of chikungunya infection are similar to those of several other diseases, a well-priced chikungunya test is the only way to diagnose the virus. People showing symptoms may be asked to undergo a series of tests, like the ELISA test for chikungunya antibodies and antigens or a doctor might want to look at the virological blood report for chikungunya. The price of a chikungunya test is quite affordable, and it is important to get a chikungunya diagnosis as soon as one notices any symptoms, so dengue, which has a high fatality rate, can be ruled out.
There is no vaccine for chikungunya, but most patients tend to recover completely from the infection. However, in many cases, the joint pain may persist for several months or years afterwards as well. Some patients may even have a relapse of symptoms like polyarthritis, polyarthralgia, Raynaud’s syndrome, or tenosynovitis.
After recovery, an individual is also likely to be immune from future infections. Severe cases of the virus are extremely rare and are generally related to other existing health problems. Newborn babies and people over the age of 65 who have conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure are more prone to suffer from severe cases of chikungunya if infected.
As of yet, there is no anti-viral medicine for chikungunya, so treatment generally revolves around relieving the symptoms of the virus and can include:
With no vaccine having been approved for the prevention of chikungunya, the best way to avoid the virus is by avoiding mosquito bites. Basic precautions will include:
Taking proper precautions and getting timely treatment if infected are the best ways to deal with the chikungunya virus. The same symptoms as that of chikungunya can also be noticed in patients with Zika virus or dengue, so getting a proper diagnosis performed on time is of prime importance.
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