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CHIKUNGUNYA: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   6 min     



Chikungunya is one of the painful infectious diseases. The disease is a viral infection which is caused by a virus (genus Alphavirus). Humans and other primates are the primary hosts of the disease. The infected female virus Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus transmits into humans by biting them, and this is how the infection spreads into the body, causing chikungunya fever. 

The chikungunya infection was first detected in Africa in 1952, where outbreaks have occurred on the Makonde plateau. The origin name of the chikungunya comes from the Kimakonde language, which means “to become contorted”. The name is such due to the twisted or stooped appearance of joints of the sufferer.

Chikungunya virus infection is rarely a life-taking disease, but the suffering is excruciating. The infected person may have the symptoms that generally last for 2-3 days, but the virus remains in the human body for 5-7 days. The mosquitoes feeding on an infected person can also become affected during the period.

Chikungunya Symptoms

The Chikungunya disease typically breeds in or around humans and prefer to feed on them in the daytime. The feed can be in shady areas of the daytime as well as in the evening. The infection of the disease causes a sudden onset of fever and joint pain, which is severe than usual.

The incubation period, i.e. the time between the infected and developing symptoms, is generally for 3-7 days that may range from 1-12 days. Day 2 or 3 is known to be the one that affects the immune system of a person. 

It can be a fatal threat to the old age citizens and tend to cause paralysis, kidney & liver disorder, and also some cerebral problems. 

  • Chikungunya symptoms duration usually begin 3-7 days after the infected mosquito bites a person.

  • Most people have common symptoms that include headache, muscle pain, joint pain in the arms and legs.

  • High fever is a common complaint from a chikungunya infected person.

  • There can be rashes which affect to around 50% of the infected people.

  • There can be symptoms of joint swelling and severe pains in the arms and legs.

  • Some people may feel better in a couple of days, but some can be a sufferer for months.

  • People infected at the time of birth or the older adults of 65 years or above are at risks for more severe diseases. Also, the one who is already suffering from other medical conditions, like high blood pressure, diabetes, or any heart disease are more prone to chikungunya.

Chikungunya Symptoms In A Child

Children are also vulnerable to the initial stage of symptoms of chikungunya disease. It is often in children that they are not capable of withholding the symptoms of the disease. In often cases, they die eventually due to the inability to hold the suffering. 

To not to experience the loss of any deaths of the innocent children, the symptoms must be known, and cure must be taken to ensure the intensity of the infection before it changes to a severe cause.

  • The symptoms in babies and children are similar to the adults, including fever, joint pain and rashes.

  • The children experience more recurring features of dermatological and hemorrhagic manifestations and less recurring features related to rheumatic diseases, as per the observations.

  • Infants of 6 months of age may be a victim of bullous skin lesions with blistering in their body.

  • In India, about 14% of all children may develop neurological symptoms. It may include status epileptics, complex seizures and encephalitis during a chikungunya outbreak. In other, it may increase to about 25% of them.

Chikungunya Prevention and Diagnosis

After the re-emergence on the east coast of  Africa in 2004, the disease has been spread throughout the neighbouring sub-continents of the Indian Ocean, Pacific, India and Southeast Asia.

Chikungunya is sometimes mistaken as dengue fever and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is a common infection. There is no such vaccination developed to prevent the chikungunya virus. The clinical trials have experimented in the laboratories from which we can detect the disease. 

The virological and serological tests are necessary for chikungunya confirmation in the infected person. The blood tests will help in detecting chikungunya or similar diseases like dengue and zika.

Treatments and Home Remedies for Chikungunya Control

As it is known now, that most people recover quickly, but in some cases, the suffering can be more than days and continue for months, or even years. Death related complications are fatal in chikungunya but may undergo severe misery experiences to people, especially in old adults with chronic diseases. 

  • If someone is travelling to an area which is an outbreak zone for chikungunya, he must take precautions and cautious about getting rid of the withholdings. 

  • The doctors may suggest salicylates and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but it should not be taken until dengue can be ruled out to decrease the risk of bleeding. 

  • To treat with the persistent joint pain, doctors may advise for NSAIDs with the corticosteroids or methotrexate.

  • Ribavarin is also used in adults to deal with chronic arthritis issues, but its benefit for acute pediatric infection is still unknown. 

Home Remedies for Chikungunya

Some simple remedies that are favourable in treating the symptoms are:

  • Taking plenty of rest is much needed for the infected person.

  • The intake of lots of fluids is a fundamental process for a better immune. It will help in hydrating the body, which is a prior need to the patient.

  • Medicines such as acetaminophen, paracetamol can be suggested to lower the fever and pain. Ibuprofen and naproxen are also used to relieve the symptoms.

  • Having a complete consultation from the doctor is required in case if the patient is a sufferer from existing medical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes etc.

  • As the disease is not transmitted from human to human but is carried out from infected mosquitoes, mosquito repellent containing DEET or picaridin is useful to control the bites from the mosquitoes.

  • One can stay in the screened-in place or an air conditioning room to avoid the mosquito-bitten. 

  • Wearing long sleeves clothes will also help to keep the mosquitoes from being bitten up.

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Tags:  Diagnostic Tests & Results,Mens Health,women's health,Chikungunya, Mosquito

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