Chikungunya – a disease similar to dengue yet more dangerous

Chikungunya is one of the similar diseases to dengue, yet is more harmful

Chikungunya is another viral disease which spreads by mosquito bites. The dengue mosquito Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus bite the human body and spreads RNA virus (Alpha virus Genus of Togaviridal) causing chikungunya. Similar to dengue, there is no specific cure for chikungunya, but relieving symptoms from the affected human body. The disease was first diagnosed in Southern Tanzania in 1952 and affects the areas of Africa, Asia, Indian Sub-Continent and Latin America. The closeness of the human habitation to that of mosquito breeding sites is hazardous.

Chikungunya Causes:

Chikungunya is caused mainly due to the spread of RNA virus (Alpha virus Genus of Togaviridal) via the bite of Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquitoes.

Chikungunya Symptoms:

The onset of illness and symptoms usually take 4 to 8 days; however can be persistent for a longer period of 2 – 12 days.

  • Joint Pain
  • Abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied with joint pains
  • Painful Muscle
  • Headache & Back Pain

Chikungunya Fever Complications:

  • The RNA virus can cause acute, sub-acute or chronic disease
  • Most patients recover fully, however in some cases the joint pain may continue for months
  • There might be cases of eye, neurological and heart complications with gastrointestinal complaints
  • In elderly people, this disease can even cause deaths

Chikungunya Diagnosis:

  • Serological test – ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immuno-absorbent Assays) is performed to confirm the presence of IgM and IgG
  • The IgM levels during the disease are highest around the time period of 3 – 5 weeks and usually lasts for 2 months
  • The Virological method which is also known as Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), can also be performed to confirm the presence of RNA Virus

Chikungunya Treatment:

Similar to dengue there is no specific treatment for chikungunya. The focus is to relieve the symptoms of the patient. The joint pain is relieved through anti-pyretics, optimal analgesics and fluids. The patient body has to be hydrated all the times to be able to prevent severe damage.