Chikungunya, a viral disease, is transmitted through the bite of Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The virus has origins from Tanzania in the 1950s and the name translates to ‘walking bent over’ in Makonde. It causes fever, muscle and joint pains; while most symptoms are short-lived, joint pain can become a life-long issue.
Once affected by the virus, it can take up to three to seven days before symptoms begin to show. This disease shares common symptoms with dengue and is sometimes misdiagnosed as dengue in the area where both diseases are common.
In the past years, the chikungunya virus was found only in Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. But recently, it has been spread and reached the Americas and the West. Travellers may run into the virus as chikungunya makes its way throughout the globe.
How Does Chikungunya Spread?
Chikungunya cannot be directly transmitted from one person to another. It can only spread through mosquito bites. A female mosquito stings an infected human and transmits it to another human.
These mosquitoes usually bite during the daytime but can also be found at night in well-lit areas. The virus rarely transmits from pregnant mothers to their newborn child; although the virus can be spread via blood transfusion.
What Are the Symptoms of Chikungunya Virus?
Various Chikungunya symptoms take upto three to seven days to show. We have listed the symptoms below-
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Nausea, and
While other symptoms are short-lived; joint and muscle pain can sometimes last for life-long. They can cause complications with chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart disease as it poses an increased risk to elder people.
Though the symptoms are similar to dengue, it sometimes misdiagnosed as dengue in the area where both diseases are common.
How to Prevent the Chikungunya Virus?
The best way to prevent the spread of the disease is to avoid mosquito bites or stop them from breeding. Below are the five simple ways to prevent it.
- Use insect repellents like Runbugz mosquito patches, body spray, roll-on etc to ensure that you’re protected from mosquito bites wherever you go.
- Use insect repellent with active DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin or IR535. Apply repellents as directed.
- Don’t leave open water spaces in and around your house/ office.
- Wear clothes that cover arms and legs.
- Put mosquito screens or nets and if that is not possible, keep your doors and windows closed everytime.
There are no vaccines available for Chikungunya as of now but are in development in the United States and India.
With all these points in mind, remember to take the necessary precautions and if you see any of the above signs, immediately consult a medical expert for the same.