Chikungunya is a type of viral infection that is usually caused by the chikungunya virus (i.e. CHIKV). The word ‘chikungunya’ means "that which bends," which characterizes the patients who have joint pain as they have a stooped or bent over appearance. The virus is usually transmitted via mosquitoes which are of two types Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. The virus can circulate within a host of animals including rodents and birds.
The chikungunya virus originally resides inside humans and other primates. Humans get infected with the virus by the bite of the female Aedes mosquito which is mostly found in the tropical and sub-tropical areas. The mosquitoes breed nearby human inhabitants and are mainly active during the day time but feed on humans in the night.
Symptoms usually develop two to twelve days after the human is exposed to the virus, i.e. get bitten by the infected mosquito. The common signs and symptoms are:
Diagnosis and Treatment
Acute chikungunya fever usually fades away on its own after running its full course and rarely cause serious complications. But it is strictly advisable to consult a doctor or health practitioner once the fever does not settle on its own or you have high fever for quite a few days as the symptoms of chikungunya fever are almost the same as that of zika virus or dengue fever. Also Read: Dengue: All You Need To Know About The Fever
The doctor usually analyses this fever by running a series of blood tests.
There are no specific vaccinations for chikungunya fever, treatment options mostly involving drinking lots of fluids, opting for more rest, sometimes antibiotics and over-the-counter pain medications to reduce pain and inflammation in the joints.
Although, chikungunya fever can be prevented by following a few safety measures such as:
- Using mosquito net while sleeping
- Limiting the access of mosquitoes to water and with the use of insect repellents. Also Read: How To Safely Use Mosquito Repellents And Bug Sprays
- Wearing clothing that covers the whole body.
- Staying inside as much as possible during late afternoons
- Using air conditioners that do not allow mosquitoes to enter.
- Using mosquito coils and insecticide vaporizers.