Know more about chikungunya symptoms and diagnosis to be better prepared when the illness strikes you or a family member.
At a time when Governments are raising alerts on dengue and malaria, another silent illness has the public firmly in its grip. We are referring to Chikungunya, which is a vector borne disease carried by mosquitoes. Here are a few facts to know about Chikungunya:
#1 It has a human-to-mosquito transmission facet.
Does that shock you? It’s true – a human being infected with the Chikungunya virus can spread the virus to a healthy mosquito. In turn, the mosquito now becomes infected (the virus incubates in the mosquito for about a week) and has the potential to infect other human beings. Thus, Chikungunya spreads from human to human with mosquitoes as the vector. However, the illness can also have a direct human-to-human transmission through the use of infected needles and transfusing infected blood.
#2 It is often mistaken for dengue.
The illness often gets misdiagnosed, because the Chikungunya symptoms and diagnosis are almost identical to those of malaria and dengue. It shares common symptoms like high fever, nausea, chills and body ache. But the body ache that Chikungunya brings is different from that seen in dengue – in this case, it causes extremely painful joints. In some cases, the patient may even become hunched and their limbs might become bent as they try to walk or move normally.
#3 It has no cure but is preventable.
Despite extensive documentation of Chikungunya symptoms and diagnosis, modern medicine has no cure for the illness. There is no vaccine against it, so it can only be prevented from taking root in the first place. The first way to prevent the disease is to ensure that there is no stagnant freshwater in or around your home. The second way is to fumigate your surroundings every day with mosquito killer spray like Mortein. Using a mosquito repellent plug-in vaporiser also helps.
#4 The treatment plan is pretty basic.
Like we mentioned earlier, there is no cure for Chikungunya symptoms and diagnosis is often mistaken for malaria or dengue. But the doctor has to really careful about the kind of medication they prescribe for Chikungunya, since certain drugs can cause inflammation and make the symptoms more acute. Some other medication may also cause drug resistance, which may delay the healing process. Bed rest, a course of antibiotics, a healthy home cooked diet and drinking lots of fluids is recommended for Chikungunya sufferers.
#5 Anyone can get it.
You cannot get complacent about Chikungunya if your locality has been recently fumigated. Mosquitoes are tough creatures that can navigate long distances and also adapt to pest sprays. Regardless of your social background or locality where you stay, anyone can get Chikungunya – all it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito.