Chikungunya -Symptoms ,Treatment

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This is a very rare type of viral fever spread by the mosquito bites. The fever is caused by an alphavirus from the bites of Aedes aegypti mosquito. The disease was first identified in the year 1955. The disease is highly infective but not fatal. People suffer a lot in chikungunya.

Chikungunya was first identified in Tanganyika, Africa in 1955. An outbreak of chikungunya was discovered in Port Klang in Malaysia in 1999, it affected some 27 people. In February 2005, on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean people got affected by chikungunya. On 18 May 2006, 258,000 residents suffered from chikungunya. In Mauritius, 3,500 islanders have been hit in 2005.

As per the official records, there have also been cases in Madagascar, Mayotte and the Seychelles. In 2006, there was a big outbreak in the Andhra Pradesh state in India. Nearly 200,000 people were affected by this disease in the districts of Praksham and Nellore in this state. Some deaths have been reported but it was thought to be due mainly to the inappropriate use of antibiotics and anti inflammatory tablets. This virus can cause thrombocytopenia, injudicious use of these drugs can cause erosions in the gastric epithelium leading to exsangunating upper GI bleed (due to thrombocytopenia).

Another case of chikungunya fever was reported from Malegaon town in Nasik district, Maharashtra state, in the first two weeks of March 2006, in which more than 2000 people were affected. In Orissa state, almost 5000 cases of fever with muscle aches and headache were reported between February 27 and March 5, 2006. In Bangalore, there was an outbreak of Chikungunya in May 2006 with arthralgia/arthritis, rashes. The latest outbreak in Tamil Nadu, India, 20,000 cases was reported in June 2006. Earlier it was found spreading mostly in outskirts of Bangalore, but now it has started spreading in the city also.

Analysis of the recent outbreak has suggested that the increased severity of the disease may be due to a change in the genetic sequence, altering the virus’ coat protein, which potentially allows it to multiply more easily in mosquito cells.

Various Symptoms of chikungunya

Patient suffers from high fever with temperature rising to 40degree Celsius. You will have high fever along with severe headache, chills, join pain, nausea, vomiting and swollen limbs. In most cases the symptoms are very similar to the normal flue. There can also be headache, conjunctival injection and slight photophobia. Patient can suffer from joint pain for months. Children may display neurological symptoms.

Dignosis of chikungunya

Acute headache, high fever, joint and muscle pains are few common symptoms that help in identifying the disease. Few blood tests are performed to confirm the disease.

Treatment of Chikungunya:

  • Antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor.
  • But in most cases the infection is self – limiting and resolves with time.
  • Analgesics, antipyretics and fluid supplementation are also given in acute cases. These help in treating infection.
  • Vaccination for this fever has yet not been discovered.

How to prevent Chikungunya?

Best way to prevent chkungunya is by keeping away mosquitoes.

  • Removing any stagnant water found on roofs
  • Maintain block free water pipes
  • Cover all water tanks properly so that mosquitoes cannot get in
  • Change water in flower vases at least once a week

Few additional measures:

  • Control mosquito bites by wearing clothes that cover arms and legs
  • Use mosquito nets and mosquito repellent products at night
  • Fix mosquito net on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

Keep a watch and control mosquito bites to avoid getting infected by chikungunya fever.

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