Chikungunya may seem like a recently prevalent virus disease but the first case of this mosquito borne illness was reported in 1952 in Tanzania, Africa. Being a viral fever, chikungunya has no vaccination and no specific cure yet. That’s why prevention and early detection (by being vigilant about its symptoms) are the only vital ways of safeguarding oneself from this malady.
Chikungunya is caused by the bite of the female Aedes mosquito, the same bug that causes dengue. That is why the symptoms of the two diseases often overlap. Therefore, a close examination of the symptoms is a must in order to detect it accurately. Here are the signs you’ve got to be aware of:
- High fever (102 to 104 degrees)
- Myalgia – severe muscle pains
- Joint pains
- Swollen joints
- Rashes across the body
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dehydration (hence it is advised to consume a lot of fluids- water, ORS, etc. during the disease)
The symptoms generally occur within 4 to 8 days of the infected bite. Unlike dengue, the muscle and joint pains caused by chikungunya are much more severe, intensified and unbearable; making its victim stiff. No wonder, the ailment is called ‘chikungunya’ because it means “to become contorted” in the African Kimakonde language. Other differences between the two viral fevers are that chikungunya symptoms are sometimes accompanied by conjunctivas and chest ailments. Secondly, chikungunya is mostly not as fatal as dengue, if treated properly. Incidences of death caused by chikungunya are comparatively low, occurring mainly among the elderly who are already suffering from other health complications. Thirdly, apart from mosquitoes, infected monkeys, birds and cattle can too spread the virus which is not the case with dengue. Lastly, dengue is distinguished by a severe ache behind the eyes.
Younger children and people in their old age are said to be the worst targets of the fever. Since it has no vaccine and particular cure, prevention is the best way to safeguard against it. Keep these precautionary measures in mind to stay protected:
- The Aedes mosquito is the most active during the day time, especially during early morning and late afternoon. Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs properly.
- Kill the mosquitoes by using mosquito repellent coils, sprays, etc. Keep them from biting you by using net or gauze for the windows, doors and bed.
- Stop the breeding of mosquitoes by keeping your surrounding clean. Prevent water clogging and stagnation (the place where mosquitoes lay their eggs). Cover water pits and puddles with sand or petroleum or insecticides. Make sure that the drains of your locality are not left open.
- Keep moving if you are situated in a place where the profusion of mosquitoes is high.
These suggestions will definitely help keep chikungunya at bay but if you experience any chikungunya symptoms, consult your doctor and visit a diagnostic centre such as Apollo Diagnostics and get tested immediately. The pathological technicians at Apollo Diagnostics will be able to diagnose your condition accurately using their expertise, experience, and state-of- the-art technology. Apollo Diagnostics even provides a free home collection service for your ease and convenience.