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Chikungunya fever: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About chikungunya fever

Chikungunya fever is an acute, contagious disease caused by virus and transmitted by mosquitoes. It is characterised by fever, skin rash and joint pains.

Chikungunya fever: Incidence, age and sex

Chikungunya is an infrequent infectious disorder which may be encountered in any age group. No gender bias has yet been documented. It is mostly seen during rainy season when the Aedes mosquitoes breed.

Signs and symptoms of chikungunya fever: Diagnosis

The clinical features of chikungunya fever may appear only 1 or 2 days after exposure and include fever, skin rash and muscle pain. The virus may lead to the inflammation of the joint cartilage, resulting in intense joint stiffness and pain. Any joint of the body may be affected; however larger joints like the knee, the shoulder joint are more commonly implicated. This joint pain is typically migratory and may affect one or more joints at a time. Some individuals may also complain of vague features like headache, increased sensitivity to light and insomnia. The diagnosis of this disease can be confirmed by ELISA assay and immunoflourescence.

Causes and prevention of chikungunya fever

Chikungunya fever is caused by an arbovirus which is carried from human to human through Aedes mosquito. This mosquito species usually breeds in stagnant water and is found abundantly in the rainy season. This results in increased incidents of chikungunya fever during rains. Preventive measures like wearing full-sleeved clothes to avoid mosquito bites, using insect repellents and elimination of stagnant water may help in minimizing the transmission of the virus.

Chikungunya fever: Complications

Chikungunya fever is generally a mild disease which does not result in any fatal consequences. However some individuals may complain of persistent joint aches for weeks even after the disease has subsided. Though this is not a serious health concern, but it may be very distressing for the individual. Other complications like malaria, lymphoma and glandular may be seen in some individuals, but they are exceedingly uncommon.

Chikungunya fever: Treatment

Chikungunya fever is a self limiting infectious disease which usually resolves on its own within a few days. There is no specific medication for its treatment. However medications like antipyretics may be prescribed for fever and malaise. Another category of medications called NSAIDs may be taken for reducing joint inflammation and pain. Plenty of fluids are advised to prevent dehydration. Such symptomatic measures are the cornerstone of management of Chikungunya fever which is usually a mild disease.