The Chikungunya virus infects humans through the bite of a mosquito. Once considered a disease of tropic regions only, it’s now spread to many countries, affecting many more lives. The virus has presently been diagnosed in 60 counties across the world.
It’s rarely fatal but the symptoms can be debilitating, long-lasting and severe in some cases. In most cases, the virus causes fever and joint pain and is transmitted through the bite of an infected female mosquito.
Contact with the blood of an infected person can also cause chikungunya. The fever caused by the virus just lasts for a few days but the joint pain can remain for weeks, in some cases for months, or even up to a year. The virus can enter the blood and then multiply within different cells. The virus was first reported in Africa in the early 1950s.
There is no vaccine or antiviral treatment that is currently available to cure Chikungunya and whatever medication is prescribed to patients focuses on relieving the symptoms. The disease is not fatal and is short-lived.
What are the symptoms of Chikungunya virus?
Symptoms of Chikungunya virus normally appear within a few days of the mosquito bite. Those infected individual will develop some symptoms between 3-7 days after the bite.
Here are the symptoms –
- Fever is the most common symptom (sometimes as high as 40 °C)
- Joint pain is also a common symptom
- Muscle pain
- Swelling around the joints.
- Less-common symptoms include conjunctivitis, nausea and vomiting
- The diseases rarely leads to death as in most cases, patients get better within a week
- The joint pain may persist for months after the disease resides
- The disease can seriously affect those with diabetes or high blood pressure
Treatment of Chikungunya
Currently, there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment available for curing Chikungunya. So, rather than treating causes, doctors recommend medications that will treat the signs and symptoms instead.
Here are some recommended treatment methods –
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink as many fluids as possible to stop dehydration
- Reduce pain and fever by taking medicine such as acetaminophen
- If risks of dengue is present, the use of aspirin should be avoided
- If you’re already on medication, talk to the doctor before taking anything
Prevention of Chikungunya
The only way to prevent Chikungunya is by avoiding the contact with mosquitoes. The less the contact, the less the chances of being infected by the virus. The focus should be on staying away from mosquitoes and staying safe. After all, this disease is not easy to detect as you do with dengue test kit price India.
The following are some of the ways Chikungunya can be prevented –
- Wear clothes that cover the whole body and leave virtually nothing exposed
- Use insect repellant on clothing and skin
- Avoid going out early mornings or later afternoon and stay indoor as much during a Chikungunya alert in your area
- Use mosquito nets, especially for sleeping under
- Keep the air conditioner running as it creates unfavorable environment for mosquitoes
- Use mosquito coils
- Use insecticide vaporizers
- Don’t allow mosquitoes to grow or breed in or around your house