Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a viral infection, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infested aedes aegypti mosquito. This virus was first identified in Tanzania in 1953. ‘Chikungunya’, in the Kimakonde language (a language spoken by people of an African tribe called Makonde) means ‘to become contorted or bent’, and this describes a chikungunya symptom in which patients tend to stoop due to joint pain. This disease has nothing to do with ‘chicken’; the misconception is mainly due to the close resemblance of the word ‘chikun’ and ‘chicken’.

Symptoms
The incubation period of the chikungunya virus is 2 to 5 days. Symptoms of the illness start to show once this incubation period is complete but some persons may not show signs of the illness for up to 12 days. The common symptoms are:
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High fever Swelling of joints and pain Muscle pain Nausea and vomiting Fatigue Rashes

Symptoms of chikungunya are often confused with those of dengue or flu. In some cases there may also be extreme pain in the joints, difficulty in movement, and arthritis. Cases of eye, neurological and heart complications as well as gastrointestinal problems have also been reported.

Causes
The chikungunya virus requires an agent for transmission, and the aedes aegypti mosquito works as the transmitting agent in this case. Spread of this

Chikungunya can be diagnosed through laboratory tests like Rt-PCR.5 months. the proximity of human habitation to such sites doubles the risk.. which generally occurs in the morning. As the disease spreads through bite of aedes aegypti mosquitoes. One must wear full sleeved clothes during outbreaks of chikungunya. Rest is advised in case of high fever and severe joint pain. as this minimizes skin exposure and thus mosquito bites. shoes.virus from one human to another is thus not possible. It is thus important to keep our surroundings clean and not let water accumulate in containers. potted plants etc. These mosquitoes breed in stagnant waters and bite during the day time. Using a mosquito repellent can significantly reduce the chances of mosquito bites. and mosquito nets. . Diagnosis and Treatment Many symptoms of chikungunya are same as those of dengue. Recovery from the fever depends on the age and immunity of the patient. While children usually recover in 5 to 15 days. If required it is also advisable to use permithrin (insecticide) on clothes. There is no specific medication for chikungunya. Transmission of the virus occurs when a mosquito bites an infected person and then bites a non-infected person. coolers. Prevention There is no commercial vaccine for chikungunya. birdbaths. pools. which breed in stagnant water. Elderly patients may take even longer than that. but the treatment is directed at relieving the symptoms like fever and joint pain. adults may recover in 1 to 2. serological tests and virus isolation. Mild exercises like stretching may improve stiffness and joint pain. especially during the monsoon season. and hence there is a risk of the disease being misdiagnosed.