Chikungunya

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 19, 2022, 6:02

Chikungunya is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. It is caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV). It is generally found worldwide but specifically in Africa, Asia and India.

How Does Chikungunya Spread?

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean, India, and Pacific Oceans. There is a risk factor that the virus will spread to unaffected areas through infected travellers.

Chikungunya Situation in India in Last Seven Years

Year

No. of confirmed cases

2015

3342

2016

26364

2017

12548

2018

9756

2019

12205

2020

6324

2021 (Till Oct.)

8806

Chikungunya cases have been found majorly in the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, and Maharashtra during the last couple of years.

CHIKV evolution has been a noteworthy driver of epidemics in India; hence, there is a need to focus on proper surveillance and implementation of prevention and control measures in the country. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or antivirals available; however, India has initiated numerous efforts in this direction, including traditional medicines.

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Symptoms of Chikungunya

  1. Symptoms usually arise 3&7 days after an infected mosquito bites you.
  2. The most common symptoms are found to be fever and joint pain.
  3. Other symptoms may include muscle pain, headache, joint swelling, or rash.
  4. Death from Chikungunya is exceptional.
  5. Most patients start recovery within a week. In some cases, joint pain can be severe and may even persist for months.
  6. Including infants infected around the time of birth, older adults (65 years), and people with medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease are more at risk of getting severely affected by the disease.
  7. Once a person has been infected, they are most likely to be protected from future infections.

Chikungunya - Diagnosis

  1. Consult your healthcare provider if you have visited any place where Chikungunya is found, and you have symptoms described above. Inform your healthcare provider when and where you travelled.
  2. Your healthcare provider might demand blood tests to look for Chikungunya or other similar viruses like Zika and Dengue.

Chikungunya Treatment

  1. Neither any vaccines nor any medicines are currently available to prevent or treat Chikungunya.
  2. Treat the symptoms:
  • Get adequate rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration within the body.
  • After consulting with a medical professional, take medicine such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or Paracetamol as per their instructions to counter fever and pain.
  • Do not take any aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
  • If you are taking medicine for any other medical condition, consult your healthcare

    provider before taking additional medication.

Prevention of Chikungunya

  • Use insect repellents

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents for external use. EPA-registered insect repellents are acknowledged as safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women when used as directed. However, product label instructions should always be followed.

  • Wear Protective Clothing

Always wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Ensure that your child’s dress also covers their arms and legs. Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.

  • Treat Clothing and Gear

Use 0.5% permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as pants, boots, socks, and tents) or buy readymade permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

Take Steps to Prevent Mosquitoes Indoors and Outdoors

  • Use screens on windows and doors.
  • Patch-up holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
  • Stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in nearby water areas.
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FAQs on Chikungunya

Q.1. How is the Chikungunya virus transmitted?

Ans: Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Q.2. What are the major countries and places where the Chikungunya outbreak has occurred?

Ans: Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.

Q.3. Which are the states in India where more confirmed Chikungunya cases have been reported in the past few years?

Ans: Chikungunya cases have been found majorly in the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, and Maharashtra during the last couple of years.

Q.4. What are some of the most common symptoms of Chikungunya?

Ans: The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain.