Home | Articles | Chikungunya fever: should I be worried?

By Dr Prasanna Deshmukh
Published on 15/12/2022

Chikungunya fever is a virus-borne disease carried by mosquitoes. The name: Chikungunya means "stooped walk" or "bends you up" because the infection causes severe joint and muscular pain. Other symptoms include a high fever that comes on suddenly, exhaustion, a rash, nausea, and red eyes, which usually occur 2-7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Chikungunya rarely causes severe disease or fatality, and many people recover within a few weeks. Others, on the other hand, experience joint and muscular pain that can continue months or years after being infected with the virus. Let’s understand more about chikungunya fever!

How to identify Chikungunya fever? Know the Chikungunya Signs and Symptoms!

This virus causes a few-day fever and joint pain that might last weeks or months. Chikungunya virus symptoms are similar to other mosquito-borne infections, such as dengue fever, and the symptoms usually occur just a few days after being bitten by a mosquito. The following are the most prevalent symptoms:

Symptoms usually appear 3-7 days after being bitten by the carrier mosquito. The following are the indications and symptoms of chikungunya:

Fever, nausea, and fatigue

A sudden onset of severe fever, with temperatures reaching 104 degrees.

Joint pain

One may have severe pain in the joints

Headache

People may have frequent or severe headaches for several days.

Rash

Rashes on the skin can arise all over the body.

Eye problems

Chikungunya can induce conjunctivitis.

How is chikungunya spread?

Chikungunya is caused by being bitten by a mosquito that transmits the virus. This infection cannot be transmitted from person to person. However, mosquitoes acquire the virus when they bite an infected person. If you have the virus, avoid getting new mosquito bites to prevent it from spreading to others. Also, avoid traveling.

How is chikungunya detected?

There are several methods for diagnosing chikungunya virus infection. Serological tests like enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), may be used to confirm the presence of anti-chikungunya IgM and IgG antibodies. IgM antibody levels rise 3–5 weeks after the onset of the disease and continue for about two months.

The virus can be detected directly in the blood during the first few days of infection. As a result, samples taken during the first week of illness should be analyzed using serological and virological methods (significantly reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)). There are several RT-PCR methods available. However, their sensitivity differs, and some are suitable for clinical diagnosis. Clinical RT-PCR results can also be used for virus genotyping, allowing comparisons with virus samples from different geographical areas.

Is there a vaccine for chikungunya?

There is currently no vaccination or antiviral treatment available. However, the illness is generally short-lived and rarely fatal, and medication is intended to treat symptoms rather than the underlying cause.

How to treat chikungunya? Know the Home remedies to treat chikungunya fever!

The following are some home treatments that can help you relieve Chikungunya symptoms and recover faster.

Turmeric

Turmeric is known to be an effective antioxidant in boosting defense mechanisms against the Chikungunya virus. It also has anti-inflammatory qualities and is used to relieve joint pain.

Stay Hydrated

Have adequate fluid and water consumption to avoid dehydration. It also helps in the removal of toxins from the body.

Healthy diet

Green leafy vegetables and carrots are abundant in antioxidants and vitamins, which help in recovery and reduce the inflammatory symptoms caused by chikungunya. Garlic is known to contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help in immune system support.

Papaya leaves

Taking 2-3 tablespoons of juice from papaya leaves on a regular basis will boost the platelet count and help people recover quickly.

Castor oil

Take a tablespoon of castor oil, three to four drumsticks, two to three camphor billets, three garlic cloves, and two teaspoons of coconut oil. Apply the mixture to the joints three times each day after crushing the ingredients and warming them in coconut oil. It will provide pain relief.

What steps should be taken to avoid chikungunya?

Since there is no vaccine to stop the Chikungunya virus from spreading, it is essential to follow some prevention advice, like:

  • Avoid areas where there is stagnant water.
  • Keep the surroundings clean and dry. Moist and warm areas are the primary mosquito vector breeding grounds.
  • Using mosquito repellent creams and mosquito nets might help you avoid mosquito bites.
  • Wear clothing that covers the entire body.
  • Avoid traveling to areas where the disease is spreading.

Consult the doctor if you or a family member suspect to have chikungunya. This is very important if you have recently been to a place where an outbreak is ongoing. The doctor may request blood tests to check for chikungunya or other infections. If you have chikungunya, avoid new mosquito bites to prevent the virus from spreading.

It's not only the chikungunya virus; a small bite from a mosquito can cause various diseases like the zika virus, west nile virus, dengue fever, and malaria.