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Is Chickungunya Infectious?

“Chickungunya” you hear the name and your body cringes at the thought of it. Now imagine a love done being infected with the disease. Its not a very pleasant picture and the reality of it is much more difficult especially with its signature symptom of joint pains that can last for a very long time. So instead of being afraid of it, lets learn all there is to learn about this particular disease so we are well prepared to prevent it and treat it should an infection occur despite the precautions.

Chickungunya is a viral infection that is spread by infected mosquitoes. The virus causing and spreading is called the Chickungunya virus. The virus is specifically spread by the Aedes Aegypti and the Aedes Albopictus genus of mosquitoes which are rampant in the tropical regions including the Asian sub continent. What distinguishes Chikungunya, is that the mosquitoes in question usually bite during the day.

Symptoms of Chickungunya usually appear anything between two to twelve days after being bitten. Fever upto 102F and joint pains are signature symptoms of Chickungunya and can at times be confused with those of Dengue and Zika fever. Other symptoms of Chickungunya include muscle pains, headaches, rashes, joint swellings, vomiting, nausea etc. The joint pain usually comes in after the fever and is known to affect symmetrical joints. Joints in the hands, feet, legs and shoulders are usually the affected ones.

Given that the symptoms of Chickungunya are shared by Dengue and Zika, its best to let the good doctor run the required blood tests for confirmation and then decide on the course of treatment. As of today there is no available vaccination or cure for Chickungunya. Treatment is usually symptomatic meaning medication to manage the symptoms while the infection takes its course and  passes away.

All said and done, YES Chikungunya is an infectious disease and should be dealt accordingly.

At home, the doctor’s treatment can be supported with light healthy nourishing food like fruits, vegetables and other easy to digest food items. Keeping the patient hydrated liquids like fruit juices, vegetable juices, lime water, coconut water, etc is another way of helping the patient get better faster. adequate rest and attention to relief from symptoms will usually go a long way for a faster recovery.

As mentioned earlier, there is no vaccination for Chikungunya, so the only option is preventing the infection by curbing mosquito population and staying safe from mosquito bites altogether. Mosquito breeding can be curbed by joint efforts on an individual and community level along with the government bodies in the area. On an individual level one should ensure that they themselves and all the family members are always using appropriate mosquito repellents to keep the nasty stingers away. On a community level ensuring that there is no stagnant water in the vicinity, closing off any open pot holes and drainages to prevent water accumulation in the area. All garbage in the area should be kept covered and disposed off responsibly to prevent mosquito breeding.

 

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