Chikungunya is an RNA alphavirus belong to the Togaviridae family. The disease was first described during an outbreak in Tanzania in 1952. This viral disease transmitted to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are high fever, joint and muscle pain. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to specific treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
The chikungunya virus infects humans through the bite of an infected female mosquito and causes fever and joint pain. It is rarely fatal, but the joint pain may be severe and last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability. Once the virus has entered the blood stream, it can divide and multiply within a number of different cell types, including epithelial cells, endothelial cells and primary fibroblasts. Symptoms normally appear between 2 and 7 days after the initial mosquito bite up to 96% of those who are infected will develop symptoms. They bite during the day and at night. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. In rare cases, the virus can be transmitted through contact with an infected individual’s blood.
Chikungunya virus is transmitted rarely from mother to new born around the time of birth. No any case have been found to be infected with chikungunya virus through breastfeeding. Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are encouraged to breast feed even in areas where chikungunya virus is circulating. In the addition, the virus could be spread through a blood transfusion. The symptoms of chikungunya are similar to those of dengue and Zika, diseases spread by the same mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya. Symptoms normally appear just a few days after an individual has been bitten by a mosquito. Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most prevalent symptoms are high fever, muscle and joint pain and may also include other symptoms like headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Less commonly, symptoms can be accompanied by a maculopapular rash, conjunctivitis, nausea and vomiting. Mostly patients feel better within a week but in some people, the joint pain may persist for months. People at risk for more severe disease include new born infected around the time of birth, older adults, and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
The disease is more serious if contracted by anyone particularly old or young, or those with high blood pressure or diabetes. Any individual who has experienced or is experiencing rheumatic like symptoms before infection may find the pains return or worsen. These patients are more likely to have longer lasting rheumatic effects. As the symptoms of chikungunya virus are similar to those of other diseases such as dengue fever. Only a blood test can definitively diagnose chikungunya. It is important to rule out dengue fever as quickly as possible because of its higher rate of mortality up to 50% if untreated, compared with 0.1% for chikungunya. If an individual with the symptoms outlined above has recently visited an area where either disease is common, it is advised that medical help should be sought. If you have chikungunya, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness. During the first week of infection, chikungunya virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people. Complications of chikungunya are rare, but it can include like Uveitis, which is inflammation of the layer in the eye between the inner retina and the outer fibrous layer composed of the sclera and cornea, Retinitis, Myocarditis, Hepatitis, Nephritis, Hemorrhage, Meningoencephalitis, Myelitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome and Cranial nerve palsies.
Serological tests, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), may confirm the presence of IgM and IgG anti chikungunya antibodies. Samples collected during the first week after the onset of symptoms should be tested by both serological and virological methods. There is no vaccine or specific drug to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus, but we can treat the symptoms with Get plenty of rest, Drink more fluids to prevent dehydration, take some pain killer medicine, but if you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication. And in case of longer lasting aches, physiotherapy may be helpful in some cases.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for chikungunya. Supportive nursing care and relief of symptoms are the standard treatment. The best methods of prevention involve minimizing contact with mosquitos, because the major mode of chikungunya transmission is via mosquitos. Aedes mosquitoes bite during the day particularly around dawn and dusk. Breeding sites must be abridged. If you notice any stagnant water such as that in containers, vases, or barrels, invert the container or place a cover on the opening. This will help in eradicating the likelihood of mosquitoes in the region.
For this use insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), wear clothing that covers the whole body with full sleeves. Sleep under a mosquito net and use mosquito coils and insecticide vaporizers. Try to stay indoors as much as possible, especially during early morning and late afternoon and avoid traveling to areas experiencing outbreaks. By implementing these measures into your day-to-day, you can significantly lessen your risk of contracting the chikungunya virus.