Preventive Health System

What is the Chikungunya Virus?

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:58 am

Chikungunya virus is an arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes. It causes fever, joint pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, and rash. Symptoms usually appear 3-7 days after infection.

Chikungunya Virus

Chikungunya is a virus that’s spread by mosquitoes. It can’t be passed from person to person.

Signs of chikungunya usually show up 3 to 7 days after you’re bitten. They typically include fever and joint pain, but you also might have a headache, nausea, or a rash and be exhausted.

It’s hard to know for sure that you have chikungunya because it can look like other illnesses spread by mosquitoes, such as dengue fever, Zika or Malaria.

There’s no proper treatment for chikungunya. Most people get better on their own and recover completely. Many of the symptoms usually improve within a week, but joint pain can last a few months. The patient should drink plenty of liquids and get a lot of rest.

The virus is typically harder on newborns, people over 65, and people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. If you or someone you know has symptoms and is in one of these groups, visit the doctor.

If you had chikungunya before, you’re not likely to get it again.

Chikungunya Symptoms

The symptoms of chikungunya are also similar to those of dengue fever–which is another mosquito-borne illness that is common in many of the same parts of the world where chikungunya outbreaks have occurred. The symptoms are also similar to the symptoms of the Zika virus.

The common symptoms of chikungunya include;

  • High fever
  • Severe muscle and joint pain
  • A severe headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash on the skin due to damaged blood vessels
  • An enlarged painful lymph node in the neck
  • A sore throat
  • Painful abdominal cramps
  • Icy fingers and toes
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  1. Is Chikungunya virus infection contagious?

    Chikungunya virus infection is not considered being contagious because there is no direct human to human transfer of Chikungunya viruses, so infected individuals cannot directly transfer the virus to another human because the virus has to pass through a mosquito first. However, outbreaks can occur in populations where both mosquitoes and humans are infected with the virus. Rarely, the virus may be transmitted from the mother to her newborn as well. Researchers suggest the virus may be transferred by blood transfusions from an infected individual.

  2. Can chikungunya kill you?

    Chikungunya is not fatal, but the painful symptoms have led people to say It won’t kill you, but it may make you wish you were dead!

  3. How long does it take to recover from chikungunya?

    Most people recover fully, with symptoms resolving in three to 10 days. For some people, joint pain may continue for months, or even years

  4. Who is at risk for chikungunya?

    Groups identified as having increased risk for more severe disease include neonates exposed intrapartum, adults 65 years of age, and people with underlying medical conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, or heart disease. Acute symptoms of chikungunya typically resolve in 7–10 days.

  5. How do you treat chikungunya joint pain?

    There are no specific drugs to treat chikungunya; doctors simply recommend rest and plenty of fluids. Over-the-counter medications will help ease fever and joint pain.

How to diagnose chikungunya?

A special blood test known as ELISA blood test or Rapid Card Test (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) is done to confirm chikungunya virus in a patient. During the test, if IgM antibodies are found (which can last up to one year in the blood) it confirms chikungunya virus in the body.

These antibodies reveal the chikungunya virus. Order Chikungunya test with relevant blood and urine tests like Complete Blood Count.

What are the complications of chikungunya?

If not diagnosed in advance or not treated well, some complications of chikungunya include:

  • neurological imbalances
  • seizures
  • myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle
  • ocular disease or eye disease (uveitis, retinitis)
  • jaundice caused by liver damage
  • the acute renal disease when kidneys get affected
  • severe bullous lesions
  • neurological diseases, such as meningoencephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myelitis, or cranial nerve palsies

What is the treatment for chikungunya?

Chikungunya is a self-remitting illness. There is no particular medication or treatment available for chikungunya.

The doctor may advise you to take plenty of rest, fluids, and provide you painkillers. Even while prescribing pain-killers, paracetamol is recommended for treating pain and fever. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are never prescribed.

The usual treatment for the severe form of chikungunya comprises:

  • Providing Intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolyte replacement
  • Monitoring blood pressure
  • Blood transfusion to replace blood loss, if any

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