We all remember the startling bout of chikungunya in India a few years back that led to a state of panic. Quite a few people at the time also believed that the disease involved chickens, due to the way the word is pronounced. With quite a few myths surrounding the disease, it has become difficult to differentiate the facts from the myths. In this article let’s explore what chikungunya is all about, its symptoms and precautions to prevent the disease. Coined from the Kimakonde language, ‘chikungunya’, meaning ‘becoming contorted’ aptly describing the symptom of stooping due to joint pain. Cases of chikungunya have been reported in India, Africa, and Asia, since its first outbreak in the 1952, in southern Tanzania.
A RNA virus belonging to the Togaviridae alphavirus genus, the chikungunya virus is spread by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito. These mosquitos transmit dengue and zika as well. Once infected, symptoms can appear anytime between 2 to 12 days. Some cases may remain asymptomatic as well.
Symptoms of Chikungunya
The most prominent symptom of chikungunya is fever. The symptoms of chikungunya fever differ from the normal fever as it is accompanied with acute joint pain. Apart from this, nausea, rash, headache, and fatigue are common symptoms as well. There are chances of chikungunya being misdiagnosed due to the similarities in symptoms with Zika and Dengue. Severe cases can result in neurological, retinal, and cardiological complications as well. This makes it difficult for older people affected by the illness to recover as against young people. There have been instances where people have lived with joint pain for years.
There is no cure or specific treatment for chikungunya, neither is there a vaccine against the disease. One can only manage the symptoms. This makes it more important for people to take necessary precautions to prevent contracting the disease.
To confirm diagnosis, a lab test is required. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test will confirm the infection with chikungunya virus and symptoms can be treated accordingly. If you present with any of the symptoms listed above, please seek medical attention immediately.
Precautions to control chikungunya
2. Mosquitoes are a problem both indoors and outdoors so while you or your kids step out home ensure you are using personal repellents. The easiest thing to do is to apply 4 dots of Goodknight Fabric Roll-On every time you step out of home.
3. If weather permits use full-sleeved clothes and minimize the exposed skin.
4. Use door and window screens to keep the mosquitoes outside your home.
5. Getting rid of stagnant water bodies in and around your home is the most important precaution as these water bodies have the potential to become breeding-sites for mosquitoes.
6. Discard any unused storage containers, old tires etc.
7. Cover all water-storage containers.
8. Keep surroundings clean.
9. Ensure your AC tray and fridge tray are cleaned regularly.
Take precautions and avoid chikungunya.