Chikungunya is a viral disease that is transmitted to human beings when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. These mosquitoes become carriers when they feed on an already infected person. So, this is actually a cycle in which infected humans can infect mosquitoes and infected mosquitoes can infect other humans. It then becomes vital to protect an infected person from mosquito bites when they’re ill, to prevent further spread of the disease1.
Any person can get infected by the virus, so it’s necessary for everyone – especially moms-to-be – to be adequately informed about the illness and take appropriate steps for its prevention or management. The symptoms below usually appear 4-7 days after being bitten:2
It is mostly a self-limiting condition in which symptoms subside on their own within 2-3 days. However, in some individuals the joint pain can persist for many months or even longer.
The symptoms resemble that of dengue and hence, can be misdiagnosed. However, it can be detected through blood tests.
There is no vaccine to prevent Chikungunya nor any medicine to treat the infection. It can be managed by getting plenty of rest and increasing fluid intake. Paracetamol can help bring down fever. But the only way to prevent the illness from taking hold is by the prevention of mosquito bites.
A person who gets infected once is likely to have life-long immunity and may not be infected again.
4. Who’s at risk:
Newborns (who could get infected around birth), adults over 65 years, and people with medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
5. Chikungunya in pregnancy: The Chikungunya virus infection in pregnant women can cause potential complications such as transplacental transmission of the infection to the baby before birth, development of some congenital malformations, stillbirths, preterm delivery, and growth restriction.
6. Chikungunya in babies:
Chikungunya presents different clinical symptoms in newborns, including fever, loose stools, seizures, bluish discoloration of extremities (fingers) and skin symptoms such as generalized skin redness, rash, skin blisters, and skin peeling.
Protection against Chikungunya is important. Being a mosquito-borne illness, keeping these pests at bay becomes vital, especially for expectant women and babies/children. Various options, like those listed below, can be extremely helpful:
Ensuring you take these measures not only keep you safe but keep your baby safe as well.