Incubation of chikungunya virus is between 2 to 12 days. Generally it takes 3 to 7 days for the virus to cause illness. The carrier mosquito of this virus, Aedes Aegypti, gets infected when it bites the humans carrying this virus. Other than humans, monkeys and other animals also carry this virus and the mosquitoes can get infected by biting them too. Apart from Aedes Aegypti, another mosquito which has been responsible for the spread of this condition in Asia, Africa and Europe is Aedes Albopictus, also called the Asian Tiger mosquito.
After incubation, the onset of chikungunya fever shows symptoms such as temperature touching 104 °F, nausea, and vomiting, sharp joint pain with swelling, rashes and neurological problems in children. Children are not as vulnerable to contracting this infection than as older people. In case they do, the symptom of severe joint pain may not be as apparent as is in case of the aged. It can often be confused with dengue or flu.
Since there is some time before the chikungunya infection results in illness, you should consult your doctor immediately to confirm the symptoms. The symptoms of chikungunya and dengue are very similar. The treatment only relieves the symptoms rather than curing the disease.
Because chikungunya incubation period is so long and there is no preventive vaccine, it is advisable to follow some prevention tips –
• Avoid areas where there is stagnant water.
• Rotting vegetation, old flower pots and any warm and moist area is prone to breeding of mosquitoes. Hence should be avoided or cleaned up.
• Use herbal mosquito repellents such as citronella oil based creams.
• Using mosquito nets and air-conditioning also helps to keep the mosquitoes away.
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