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Chikungunya Fever
What is chikungunya fever?

Chikungunya fever is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes.

Where does chikungunya virus occur?

This virus is commonly seen in Asia and Africa.


How do humans become infected with chikungunya virus?

CHIKV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Infected mosquitoes feed on a person infected with CHIKV. Monkeys, and possibly other wild animals, may also serve as reservoirs of the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other humans when they bite.

Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito), a household container breeder and aggressive daytime biter which is attracted to humans, is the primary vector of CHIKV to humans

What type of illness does chikungunya virus cause?

CHIKV (Chikungunya Virus) infection is an illness characterized by fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash, and joint pain. ‘Chikungunya’ is Swahili for ‘that which bends up. The incubation period (time from infection to illness) is usually 3-7 days.

The chikungunya fever lasts a few days to a couple of weeks but some patients have prolonged fever lasting several weeks or months.The prolonged joint pain associated with CHIKV is characteristic of this disease and helps distinguish it from dengue with which it may be confused.

How is chikungunya virus infection treated?

No vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for chikungunya fever is available. Treatment is symptomatic--rest, fluids, and anti-inflammatory agents like ibupfrofen and naproxen may relieve symptoms of fever and aching. Avoid aspirin during this illness.Chemical peeling is basically an accelerated form of exfoliation induced by the use of a chemical cauterant or escharotic agent. Very light peeling agents induce a faster sloughing of the cells in the statum cornium.

Infected persons should be protected from further mosquito exposure (staying indoors and/or under a mosquito net during the first few days of illness) so that they do not contribute to further spread of disease.

How do you prevent infection with Chikungunya virus?

The best way to avoid CHIKV infection is to prevent mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or preventive drug. Prevention tips are as follows:Chemical peeling is basically an accelerated form of exfoliation induced by the use of a chemical cauterant or escharotic agent. Very light peeling agents induce a faster sloughing of the cells in the statum cornium.

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin.

  • Wear long sleeves and pants (ideally treat clothes with permethrin or another repellent).

  • Have secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels.

  • Additionally, a person with chikungunya fever should limit their exposure to mosquito bites so as to avoid further spread of infection. The person should stay indoors or under a mosquito net.

  • Courtesy:

    Dr.J.Mathew M.D., Dr.Suparna Banavar M.D.
       (Seabird Health Foundation)

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