Chikungunya (pronounced as: chik-en-gun-ye) virus is a type of virus transmitted to people by mosquitoes. It is transmitted by day-biting mosquitoes, specifically Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus . Chikungunya is derived from an African or Swahili word which translates to "to be bent over" or "to become contorted". It describes the stooped position of those infected as a consequence of severe joint pain (arthralgia).
It is often mistaken for dengue fever because of similarity in some of their symptoms. However, a dengue is caused by dengue virus (DENV) while chikungunya is caused by chikungunya virus (CHIKV). Dengue and chikungunya both cause sudden onset of fever. Dengue is marked by bleeding which can lead to hemorrhage and abnormally low platelets (thrombocytopenia) and neutrophils (neutropenia) in the blood while chikungunya is characterized by joint pains and arthritis. Joint pains can be severe and is often very debilitating. Even when patients fully recover, joint pains may persist for several months or even years. Chikungunya is rarely fatal and is less serious than dengue.
Symptoms usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
There is no cure for this disease. Instead, the treatment plan is focused on relieving the symptoms. Aside from that, it will be helpful if you:
Increase fluid intake to prevent dehydration.
Apply a cold compress to ailing joints.
Avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
Perform mild exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the joints which can reduce pain and stiffness.
Note that even though the peak activity of mosquitoes is during daylight hours, mosquitoes can bite anytime. Here are some preventive measures you can try:
Wear long sleeves to protect your body from mosquitoes.
If traveling in a mosquito-infested location, sleep with a mosquito net for protection.
Empty stagnant water from containers.
Use insect repellants to provide long lasting protection.