Chikungunya is transmitted to an individual who has been bitten by an infected mosquito. It is important to note that the virus is typically found in Asian and African countries.
What are the indications?
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain, swelling and stiffness especially in the morning
- Rashes on the limbs or trunk that lasts for 7-10 days
- Feeling of weakness or tiredness
The signs and symptoms typically develop in 7-10 days after being bit by an infected mosquito. Most individuals who are infected by the chikungunya virus fully recover within a few weeks. Others might suffer from tiredness for several weeks and joint pain that can last for several months.
How does it spread?
An individual can develop chikungunya after being bit by a mosquito infected by the virus. Remember that the virus is not spread from one individual to another.
It is important to note that chikungunya is spread by the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue such as Aedes aegypti and albopictus. These mosquitos become infected if they feed on an individual who has the virus during an infection. When infected, the virus multiplies within the mosquito and can infect others if it feeds again.
- Wear loose-fitting shirts and long pants when outdoors.
- Apply a mosquito repellant on exposed skin.
- Get rid of possible breeding sites of mosquitos around the house and install screens on the doors and windows.
- Observe extra precautions when travelling to areas with high risk for mosquito-borne diseases.
The doctor will require a blood sample that is tested for antibodies against the chikungunya virus. A second blood test might be needed to confirm a recent infection.
Even today, there is no specific treatment for chikungunya. The doctor usually manages the symptoms with anti-inflammatory medications.