Long Terms Effects of Chikungunya

Friday, 30/09/2016

Chikungunya is an infection in humans that is caused by the Chikungunya virus. As we all know, the virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of a female Aedes mosquito. This is the same mosquito that carries the dengue virus too. The symptoms of Chikungunya tend to be severe in most cases.
The symptoms include
• Headaches, high fever along with chills, including photophobia insomnia and maculopapular rashes (red flat patches accompanied by red spots on the skin) usually on the limbs and the face.
• Apart from this, severe muscle pain (called myalgia) and joint pain (called arthralgia) are also common symptoms during Chikungunya. Joint pain initially starts in the small joints of the hands, feet, wrists and even ankles, and this pain might even further reach the larger joints.
• Skin problems are the most common traits in Chikungunya. Patients also tend to develop skin problems after the fever goes but muscle and joint pain usually remain. Other skin conditions or problems include tenderness/edema of limbs (this includes hands and feet), erythema nodosum, erythema multi forme and urticaria.


Need for recovery?

Therefore, as we can see, the symptoms of Chikungunya tend to be extreme and severe in most of the cases. Therefore, recovery from these symptoms depends on individuals’ hygiene and their respective immune systems. Do not worry. Chikungunya is not a fatal disease, though a few deaths have been reported as a result of weak immune systems or improper care. Usually, a patient tend to recover from the chikungunya infection within a few weeks since the disease. Proper care and diet is required and suggested. Hygiene and proper health precautions are also given utmost importance during recovery.


About the Long-Term Effects

Talking about the long term effects of this disease, there may be some depending on the individual’s case.
• Arthralgia, or joint pain as we know it, has one of the most severe effects on individuals after the disease/infection fades away. Joint pain tends to develop in the initial stages of the disease and remain throughout usually. Not only this, these pains tend to stay even after the disease has gone. The amount of pain and severity is more in older people than in infants. Age does matter when the severity of arthralgia is concerned. Some studies have shown that patients had discomfort/were unable to perform the everyday tasks even after fifteen to eighteen months of the disease.
• Chikungunya can later also lead to other joint diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Chikungunya disease can also worsen existing chronic inflammatory rheumatisms in the patient’s body and this can even lead to treatments with side effects. Many of these patients do not respond well to usual analgesics, which is a problem. This concludes that the nature of chronic pain may be not only nociceptive but also neuropathic.
• Apart from continuous joint pains, some patients also tend to develop depression in them. Even after months since the disease, patients may feel depressed and experience crucial joint pain. They may be fine one moment and have a breakdown in the next. These are traits of depression.
• In many cases, patients’ bodies also tend to become immune to normal pain killers, therefore increasing the intensity of pain and complexity in recovery.



Thus, as we discuss about the effects of Chikungunya, we see that some of them tend to stay with the patients for long.
• Though further research on this topic is going on, all we can do is try to help the patients with recovery. Vaccinations or other measures have not been developed in this field of study, therefore relying on future developments is not a smart way of taking care of yourself.
• We need to take necessary precautions now and always. Firsty, precautions to avoid the infection in the first place are to be taken. But if the infection does attack us, we need to tackle the symptoms well (or help our family/friends in tackling them).
• Reducing the symptoms might not be possible, but trying to improve the immune system of a patient can be focused upon. Hygiene is of utmost importance, no matter what the infection. Therefore, side effects may happen. But to be able to battle them is real victory over the disease.