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What you need to know about Chikungunya

by | Jul 16, 2014

chikChikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease. The virus is transmitted from human to human by the bites of infected female mosquitoes.

Most commonly, the mosquitoes involved are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, two species which can also transmit other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue.

 Signs and symptoms

Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain.

Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.

The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks.

Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years.

Occasional cases of eye, neurological and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints.

Serious complications are not common, but in older people, the disease can contribute to the cause of death.

 Often symptoms in infected individuals are mild and the infection may go unrecognized, or be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue occurs.

 Treatment

There is no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya. Treatment is directed primarily at relieving the symptoms, including the joint pain using anti-pyretics, optimal analgesics and fluids. There is no commercial Chikungunya vaccine.

 Prevention and control

cocksetPrevention and control relies heavily on reducing the number of natural and artificial water-filled container habitats that support breeding of the mosquitoes.

 Insecticides may be sprayed to kill flying mosquitoes, applied to surfaces in and around containers where the mosquitoes land, and used to treat water in containers to kill the immature larvae.

Repellents can be applied to exposed skin wearing long sleeves and pants and ensuring rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering.

Mosquito coils or other insecticide vaporizers may also reduce indoor biting.

 

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