Chikungunya is a dangerous virus that is being spread by mosquitoes, specifically the Asian Tiger mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organization, it was first reported during an outbreak in Tanzania in 1952. The virus has traditionally affected Europe, Asia, and Africa, but was reported in the Americas in late 2013
Recently the virus has become more prevalent in the Carribean, where new cases have been reported in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Following are some facts about Chikungunya.
Symptoms of Chikungunya:
People who have been affected by the virus will experience some of the following symptoms 3-7 days after being bitten.
Fever and joint pain
Other symptoms include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash.
Symptoms can range in severity
Most people will feel fine within a week, others can feel joint pain for months after.
People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, older adults (≥65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
Fortunately getting the disease once will most likely prevent you from getting it again.
The symptoms of Chikunguya are very similar to dengue, another disease carried by mosquitoes.
If you are experiencing the symptoms, it is important to go to your doctor and inform them if you have traveled recently.
Your doctor may order a blood test to more accurately diagnose your condition.
Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.
Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime.
Unfortunately there is no known cure for Chikungunya, only treatments to lessen the severity of the symptoms.