Chikungunya Viral Infection image

Chikungunya Viral Infection

Mosquitoes transmit this type of viral infection.

Signs & Symptoms of Chikungunya

The sign of chikungunya will typically be a fever, followed by other symptoms below. After the bite of an infected mosquito, the onset of illness usually occurs 4 to 8 days later (but the range can be 2 to 12 days).

Other symptoms include:

  • Sudden onset of high fever (typically above 102 degrees F)
  • Joint pains
  • Mosquitoes transmit this type of viral infection.

Signs & Symptoms Chikungunya

  • The sign of chikungunya will typically be a fever, followed by other symptoms below. After the bite of an infected mosquito, the illness usually lasts four to eight days, but the range can be two to twelve days.

Other symptoms include:

  • Sudden onset of high fever (typically above 102 degrees F)
  • Joint pains
  • Headache
  • Myalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Maculopapular rash (characterized by a flat red area on the skin covered with elevated bumps)

Chikungunya is found worldwide, particularly in Africa, Asia, and India.

  • The Chikungunya virus is spread to people by biting an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms of infection are fever and joint pain.

Prevention of Chikungunya

  • There is no vaccine or preventive drug for chikungunya, so the best way to avoid infection is to prevent it. But potential vaccines are being evaluated in clinical testing.

Basic precautions should be taken by people traveling to high-risk areas, including:

  • Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and other clothing that minimizes skin exposure
  • Using insect repellents on skin or clothing 
  • Make sure indoor spaces have adequate screens to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Use insecticide-treated mosquito nets over your bed if you sleep during the daytime.
  • Wearing mosquito netting over your face and neck, in addition to using gloves or repellents, if you spend a lot of time outdoors in areas with mosquitoes
  • Avoiding travel to areas experiencing a chikungunya 
  • Using mosquito coils and insecticide vaporizers during the daytime

Reducing the number of places where mosquitos breed around your home can significantly reduce the population. Some simple actions include:

  • Emptying water from containers, such as the saucers under potted plants, vases, buckets, and rain gutters
  • Covering water containers that cannot be opened, such as tanks or reservoirs that provide household water  
  • Getting rid of old tires that may be left outside
  • Keeping garbage in closed plastic bags and other closed containers

Complications of Chikungunya

  • Serious complications are not common, but occasionally infection can lead to severe skin, eyes, kidneys, heart, or nervous system problems.
  • Severe but rare complications include
  • Ocular disease (uveitis, retinitis)
  • Hepatitis
  • Acute renal disease
  • Severe bullous lesions
  • Neurologic conditions such as meningoencephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myelitis, or cranial nerve palsies

Treatment and Medication Options for Chikungunya

  • There is no specific antiviral drug for chikungunya, so treatment involves relieving the symptoms. 
  • Treatment includes:
  • Antipyretics to reduce fever.
  • Analgesics for pain relief. 
  • I was drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Rest
  • Given the similarity of symptoms between chikungunya and dengue, in areas where both viruses circulate, suspected chikungunya patients should avoid using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) until a dengue diagnosis is ruled out (this is because these medicines can increase the risk of bleeding with dengue).
  • Once a diagnosis is established, patients with persistent joint pain can use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including topical preparations. Physical therapy may help lessen the symptoms.
  • Headache
  • Myalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Maculopapular rash (characterized by a flat red area on the skin covered with elevated bumps)

Where is it found?

  • Once found only in Africa and Asia, chikungunya has spread quickly since 2004. Now, more than one-third of the people in the world live in places with risk factors for infection. These include the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, Caribbean islands, and the Indian and Pacific oceans.

How is it spread?

  • People get chikungunya when bitten by a mosquito infected with the virus. Chikungunya is not spread from person to person. But mosquitoes pick up the virus when biting an infected person. If you have the infection, avoid getting new mosquito bites to keep the virus from spreading to others. And avoid travel too.

How concerned should I be?

  • Many people get better with no other symptoms after 1 to 2 weeks. But others may have joint and muscle pain for months or even years. This is called chronic chikungunya arthritis, and it affects at least 40% of those who become infected with the virus.
  • Death from chikungunya is rare. But the virus can cause severe problems in some people. People at higher risk include older adults, those with long-term conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, young children, and pregnant women who might spread the virus to their babies. Complications can include severe problems with the eyes, heart, and nerves. People who have been infected once are likely to be protected from future infections.

When should I see a health care provider?

  • See your health care provider if you think you or a family member may have chikungunya. This is especially important if you have recently traveled to an area with an ongoing outbreak. Your provider may order blood tests to look for chikungunya or similar diseases. If you're sick with chikungunya, prevent new mosquito bites from keeping the virus from spreading.

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