Chikungunya in Babies

Friday, 23/09/2016

With a lot of buzz going round about people getting sick, Chikungunya is one of a few mosquito-borne illnesses people suffer from. Most of them are not really aware of what this disease is about. Many might confuse it with dengue and malaria but they aren’t same. Chikungunya is quite different from them and more dangerous for pregnant women and babies.
During the 2005–2006 mother-to-child transmission of chikungunya virus was first reported in Réunion Island, France. To determine the effects of this virus on pregnant women, a survey was conducted in 2006. The study population included 1,400 pregnant. During the first trimester the infection occurred for 15%, in second trimester for 59%, and in third trimester for 26%.
Babies after birth are at a higher risk of getting it and may face severe consequences. Moreover, it is very difficult to detect if your baby has chikungungya. Following are few details that can help one to know more about the disease.

1. Symptoms

The symptoms of this disease in babies are similar to adults to some extent.
• High Fever is the most common symptom (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius)
• There will be unusual fussiness, sleepiness, or your child will refuse to eat
• Chances of rashes are there.
If you and your baby have these symptoms, seek medical care immediately.

2. Precautions

Since there is no vaccine against chikungunya, the best way to prevent it is to keep you away from mosquitoes. In order to do that, one can follow preventive measures given below:
• By keeping your house and surrounding areas free of stagnant water, especially during the monsoon season. Water collects in rotting vegetation and containers such as old flowerpots.

• Covering domestic water tanks or reservoirs can prevent mosquitoes from getting in.

• Avoid the collection of garbage around your house. Store it in closed plastic bags and keep those in covered containers.

• People can work on unblocking the drains to release stagnant water.

• Using mosquito mesh or netting in windows and doors will help to reduce contact with as many mosquitoes as possible. Using mosquito repellents and mosquito nets in beds to avoid mosquito bites can also be useful.

• Staying in air-conditioned or cool areas will drive them away as mosquitoes are unable to thrive in cold temperatures.
• Keeping your baby’s crib, stroller, and baby carrier covered with mosquito netting at all times both indoors and outdoors will reduce the risk.
• For babies over 2 months, insect repellent with up to 30 percent DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 can be used but directions given on the product should be followed. It is strongly advised not to use insect repellent on babies under 2 months old.
• Baby should be dressed in loose cotton clothing that covers the arms and legs.

3. Treatment given

Plenty of opportunities to rest should be given to baby.
Try your best to get your baby to drink frequently to avoid dehydration. Babies under 6 months should drink only breast milk or formula and if your baby is 3 months or older, consult your doctor for a rehydration liquid as well. Babies of 6 months or older can drink sips of water.
Acetaminophen is given to relieve your of fever and pain. NSAIDS like ibuprofen or aspirin are not advised.

4. Why worry?

The reason why you should panic is simple, as the child has a very soft immune system this disease might cause him to cripple, in worst case serious situations it is seen as a possibility. Also the child does go through seizures which could hamper their brain and development at some point (there is a remote but distinct possibility)