World Health Organisation’s research on Chikungunya

Sunday, 2/10/2016

Chikungunya, a viral disease spread due to mosquito is a common disease in areas where mosquitoes proliferate in large numbers. Recent outbreak of the disease is reason enough why you should know about it and help yourself and the community.

What is Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is an infection that is instigated by the chikungunya virus which targets the Ribonucleic acid in the body. Although not being fatal in nature, chikungunya can have adverse effects on your health. Fever and joint pains being the most prominent consequences of getting infected by chikungunya, the joint pain may last for a long time.

How does an individual get affected?

Chikungunya virus is transmitted from one individual to another by the bites of a specific type of female mosquitoes. Generally, the two common species responsible for the virus commutation are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These mosquitoes bite an affected individual, and carry the virus in them which they pass on to the healthy individual that they feed on next. Mosquito-borne there isn’t any other known way you might get infected with the disease.


What are the symptoms of Chikungunya?

-Individuals experience severe fever within 2-12 days of getting infected by the virus.
-The fever is accompanied by joint pain which may last for weeks or months.
-Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rashes on skin.
Sharing symptoms with dengue, it can be mistaken for dengue and a proper diagnosis is highly essential in dengue prone areas.


How can the virus be diagnosed?

Tests like
-Viral isolation
Can be carried out to confirm the presence of the virus in an individual’s body.


No drug treatment or vaccine is available for chikungunya. Treatments are directed on relieving the patient of the symptoms. As there is no cure for the disease, it is of utmost importance to prevent the disease.

A worker from a private company fumigates a property for mosquitoes in Port-au-Prince, May 23, 2014. The painful mosquito-borne virus called Chikungunya is spreading quickly through the Caribbean, causing alarm in Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic. REUTERS/Marie Arago (HAITI - Tags: HEALTH ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY)


The standard measures taken to avoid mosquito bites are to be taken to prevent chikungunya.
-Avoid water to stagnate in your surroundings.
-Wear clothing that leaves minimum skin exposure so as to avoid mosquito bites.
-Sufficient insecticides to be used after post rain period.
-Mosquito repellants and nets to be used.
-Ae. Albopictus thrive in a wide range of water bodies. Small natural ponds, bamboo stumps, tree holes, artificial containers like unused tyres, water stagnating under plant pots, etc. It should be of utmost importance to prevent mosquitoes from proliferating.
-Ae. Aegypti are closely associated to human structures as they use indoor breeding sites like flower vase, bath tubs, vessels, etc. These are dangerous as humans are susceptible to mosquito attacks in their place of dwelling.
-Constant vigilance and a thorough idea about your surroundings is a must.

Some facts about Chikungunya

-Chikungunya in Kimakonde language means “to become contorted” which is the aftermath of suffering from the Chikungunya disease as the patients stoop due to joint pain.
-The first outbreak was in southern Tanzania in 1952.
-Initially in Africa, The Americas, Indian subcontinent and islands in the Indian ocean, there have been reports now of the virus spreading in European nations and widely spreading in the American continent making it a global endemic.
-The incubation period of the virus varies from 1 to 12 days before the virus starts working its way into the host’s body.

In General, Chikungunya isn’t a life threatening disease but it is very essential to keep infants and the elderly safe from this disease as this leaves them with joint pain and high fever. Mostly cured and rarely fatal this disease is often confused with dengue and should be properly diagnosed.
Next time you travel to a place where there is a chikungunya outbreak, keep these points in your mind
and keep yourself safe.

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