Diseases and Disorders

What is the Chikungunya Fever?

Chikungunya fever is an infectious disease caused by a virus transmitted by an aedes aegypti mosquito. It has been spreading across the globe since 2005. 

Chikungunya fever is an acute febrile illness caused by the chikungunya virus. Learn what causes it, its symptoms, and treatment options!

Chikungunya Fever

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 Fever 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
  • Stiff fingers and toes
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation

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 several both mosquitoes and humans are infected with the virus. Rarely, the virus may be transmitted from the mother to her newborn; also, researchers suggest the virus may be transferred by blood transfusions from an infected individual.

Chikungunya Blood Test

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.

Chikungunya IGM test cost in pune at 599.00

Complications of Chikungunya Virus Infection

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
Treatment for chikungunya fever

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
How long does the fever last with chikungunya?

Headache, insomnia and an extreme exhaustion remain, usually about five to seven days. Following the fever, strong joint pain or stiffness occurs; it usually lasts weeks or months, but may last for years.

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