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Chikungunya – Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Chikungunya carrier mosquito
Image Source: news.islandcrisis.net

The rain gods have been quite generous with their largesse, particularly in North India. This unforeseen generosity has given rise to an increase in water-borne diseases. Dengue which ideally makes its debut every year after the monsoon is now accompanied by another viral-based disease known as Chikungunya.

What is ChikunGunya?

Chikun Gunya is a viral disease caused by mosquito bites. The disease was first noticed in an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952. The name Chikungunya is derived from the Kimakonde language which means “to become contorted”, it describes the stooped appearance of the sufferer (due to joint pain).

Chikungunya transmission through mosquito
Image Source:sitn.hms.harvard.edu

How is Chikungunya transmitted?

Chikungunya is transmitted from human to humans through the bites of the female mosquitoes  belonging to two species, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus. Both are active in the daytime. These mosquitoes transmit the disease by biting the victims

A mosquito can transmit the virus by biting a person. The virus then multiplies rapidly in the blood. 72 to 97 percent of people are bound to exhibit the symptoms of the disease after getting bitten by the infected mosquito.

Symptoms & Treatment of Chikungunya

Symptoms of chikungunya
Image Source:mosquitomagnet.com

In many ways, Chikungunya replicates Dengue and it is easy to get confused between the two; The symptoms normally begins 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

  • There is an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain.
  • Other symptoms include nausea, fatigue, rash, muscle pain, headache & joint swelling.
  • Most patients will recover from the fever within a week however the joint pain may take a long time to clear.
  • Though not as threatening as Dengue, Chikungunya may pose serious complications for children under 1, adults aged more than 65 years and people with previous medical conditions like blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Treatment:

There is no medicine to treat Chikungunya, most often the symptoms are treated;

Take paracetamol or acetaminophen to reduce the fever and the pain

Take plenty of rest

Stay hydrated, take plenty of fluids.

If you are already infected by Chikungunya, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of the illness.

Do NOT take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs until Dengue is ruled out.

Prevention of the illness

Chikungunya prevention by fumigation
Image Source:indianexpress.com

Prevention largely depends on of reducing the breeding site of the mosquitoes.

Regularly clean and dry the water filled containers.

 Wear light-colored, long-sleeved dress when going outside

Use mosquito repellents. The repellents should contain DEET as its ingredients.

Sleep inside a mosquito net (whether daytime or night time).

Fumigate and spray insecticide regularly.

Increase the intake of iron rich/Plate increasing foods such as pomegranate, Papaya.

Chikungunya and Dengue have spread across the world. These fevers can be effectively controlled by keeping our surroundings clean and dry thus, not providing breeding grounds for the mosquitoes.

Source: 1,2

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