Chikungunya In Pregnancy

Friday, 23/09/2016

Diseases have been a part of human life for ages now and still continue to trouble the world with their deadly attacks on the human body. Some diseases can be cured but some are yet to be buried in the grave. Being able to cure a disease does not mean it should be taken lightly. Chikungunya is one such disease that can harm the human body thoroughly upon infecting it.

A Back-drop
* It is transmitted by the same mosquito Aedes Aegypi, which is responsible for transmitting dengue fever as well. The viruses name comes from a Makonde language of Tanzania which means to bend up.
* The symptoms include high fever, joint paint, and actual bending of the body parts, which leads to difficulty in walking, moving or lifting any thing.
* During its sever phase (day 3-5) the patient might not be able to lift him or herself up and has headaches, body pain and localised pain.
* Children vomit more than adults that are infected.
* Also may cause conjunctivitis which is not uncommon to hear.
* Rashes after the disease wears off is common, which can be dealt with through a medicated or OTC cream

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children and those with compromised immune systems are in the high-risk categories for being most affected by the Chikungunya virus. Mothers who have Chikungunya during pregnancy do not transmit the virus to their babies. However, there are documented cases of mother-to-child transmission when the mother has a fever in the days immediately prior to delivery or during delivery. A caesarean section does not prevent this transmission.

1. Can Chikungunya harm the mother during pregnancy?
There are rare reports of miscarriages from the women who get infected by Chikungunya early in their pregnancies. Developing the virus during pregnancy does not usually harm the mother or her unborn baby. Chikungunya is not transmitted through breast milk. However, pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to a hospital if they develop Chikungunya.
• Mothers who develop Chikungunya during pregnancy do not transmit any virus to the child. In fact, they can transmit immunity to the child that may last a few years after the birth.
• However, there have been cases in which the virus has been transmitted to the child from the mother due to blood infection during labour. This happens if the mother gets infected with Chikungunya just prior to the delivery.
• In some cases, the babies can be severely infected if the mother is infected with Chikungunya during the birth. Babies who get infected with Chikungunya should be treated at a major hospital immediately as they are at a higher risk.
• Babies who develop Chikungunya during birth are supposed to be kept under observation in the hospital for at least a week after their birth by the doctor to see if the baby develops any symptoms.

2. Symptoms of Chikungunya in Babies
• Fever
• Little interest in feeding
• Skin problems
• Swelling
• Seizures
Some babies might show some other complications as well.

3. Precautions
• Pregnant women living in or visiting affected regions should take sensible precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
• Effective control of Aedes mosquito population is critical. Pregnant women from non-endemic regions should be discouraged from travelling to areas where the epidemic is active at the moment.
• Physicians attending to pregnant women with a fever should consider the possibility of Chikungunya infection as its cause.

Doctor’s suggestions and advice should be followed so that you have a speedy recovery. And most of all, one should try to prevent these diseases from occurring in the first place. Human life is precious and one should take proper care of it so that the coming generations can see this beautiful world.