Chikungunya: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention.
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The Chikungunya virus is brought on by the bite of a mosquito. While not fatal or contagious (normally), the symptoms – fever and joint pain – can be acute, and the suffering can be long lasting. There was a time when Chikungunya was considered a ‘tropical illness’. Today, however, its incidence has been recorded in over a quarter of the world’s countries, including India.
The word Chikungunya belongs to the Makonde from the Makonde plateau in Africa where the malady was first experienced and recounted locally. It literally implies ‘to bend over’ or ‘become contorted’, a fairly accurate description of patients who have been known to stoop (bend) over in pain. An RNA virus, Chikungunya was first recorded in Tanzania (Africa). However, it was not until its more recent occurrence in 2005 (in and around the zone of the Indian Ocean) that the illness really began garnering attention.
What are the symptoms of Chikungunya?
Chikungunya and Dengue share similarities when it comes to symptoms. And, in both cases, the symptoms become apparent a few days after the mosquito bite. Some of the prominent symptoms of Chikungunya are:
High fever that can touch 1040F and last a few days.
Joint pain that can be severe and last for weeks – sometimes even months.
Pain in the muscles.
Swelling in and around the joint areas.
Although less common, the manifestations of Chikungunya can also include Maculopapular Rash (a kind of rash that is similar to the one we get during measles or heat-rash), nausea (which may include vomiting) and even conjunctivitis.
While Chikungunya is not considered fatal, the symptoms can be painful and long-running. While the patient will probably recover within a week, the pain in the joint can go on for months. In fact, in 20% of the recorded cases, patients have been known to report joint pain even after 12 months have passed.
Does Chikungunya have any side effects?
In some cases, Chikungunya can lead to complications such as Hepatitis (liver inflammation), Hemorrhage (bleeding), Myelitis (inflammation of the spinal chord), Nephritis (kidney inflammation), Retinitis (inflammation in the eyes or retina), Myocarditis (inflammation that takes places in heart muscles), Meningoencephalities (inflammation happening in the membranes of the brain and nearby cerebral i.e. brain tissue) and a few other conditions.
How do we diagnose or identify Chikungunya?
The only way to confirm the incidence of Chikungunya is a blood test. The symptoms of this ailment can sometimes be very similar to other conditions.
If you, or someone you know, has exhibited the symptoms or indications mentioned above in recent times, it is critical to visit a hospital or consult a doctor or healthcare professional immediately.
One of the prime goals of a Chikungunya Test is to rule out the possibility of Dengue. Since Dengue carries a very high mortality rate (upto 50%) as compared to Chikungunya (0.1%), removing the chances of a Dengue infection can both make the treatment more controlled, and bring down anxiety levels in the victim and their family.
More details of the test can be read here.
What is the treatment for Chikungunya?
We still don’t have a vaccine, or any specific drugs, for Chikungunya. However, since the condition is short-lived and not fatal, that is not a major concern.
Research is going on in the areas of developing VLP based vaccines. These vaccines comprise Virus-Like-Particles (VLP’s) as opposed to weakened or inactivated virus. VLP vaccines have the ability to trigger immune responses that is not very different from the kind of immunity that is naturally acquired after a viral infection.
Currently, medication of Chikungunya tends to focus on treating and alleviating the symptoms, rather than ‘curing’ the cause.
Most doctors recommend plenty of fluids with ample rest. There are some over-the-counter pills that may reduce the fever and relieve the pain, such as Ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Physiotherapy can help as well, especially if the pain persists.
What are the steps one can take for Chikungunya prevention?
The only way to stay protected from Chikungunya is to ensure that one is not bitten by mosquitoes.
Take all necessary steps to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your area. Turn off taps (and fix leaking ones) and make sure there are no stagnant water areas – including flower pots, buckets, utensils, cans, bird feeders, AC units and so on.
Don’t expose your skin too much – cover the arms and wear long sleeves, trousers (instead of shorts) and socks.
Keep your distance from residential areas and regions that are heavily populated.
Always use mosquito repellents.
Use mosquito nets while sleeping.
Turn on the air conditioning whenever possible.
STAY SAFE, BE SURE: House of Diagnostics offers a suite of affordable, accurate and quick tests for detecting early signs and symptoms of Chikungunya – as well as its various possible treatments. You can book a Consultation and Test for yourself – or someone else who needs help – in just a few clicks here.
Chikungunya By Pcr
This test is generally used to detect chikungunya virus infection
Chikungunya: Symptoms of Chikungunya, Treatment, Prevention & Test
Chikungunya fever is a virus that’s spread by mosquitoes. symptoms of Chikungunya are joint pain, Muscle pain, headache, fatigue and rash may also occur. Read about treatment for Chikungunya, Chikungunya test, Chikungunya causes.