What is Chikungunya?
Chikungunya virus, also referred to as chikungunya fever, is a viral disease transmitted to humans through infected mosquitos (mosquito-borne infection). Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
Symptoms have been known to manifest with three to seven days after being bitten by infected mosquitoes, and include the following:
- Joint and muscle pain
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention
Generally, chikungunya is diagnosed clinically with most individuals feeling better within a week, although some have reported joint pain that persists for months at a time. Available treatment options help relieve symptoms and infected individuals should increase their fluid intake and get plenty of rest. Chikungunya has a similar clinical presentation to dengue fever and zika disease, and misdiagnosis is common.
Those at risk for more severe disease include new-borns infected around the time of birth, older adults (≥65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
While there is no existing vaccine to prevent the virus (or any medicines for the treatment thereof), individuals can protect themselves from the risk of contracting the virus by using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and staying in air conditioned places or those with window and door screens.
Most importantly, if you suspect that you have contracted chikungunya, try to prevent mosquito bites for the first week as the virus can spread through infected mosquitoes to other individuals.