Chikungunya fever is caused by a virus and is transmitted by bite of Aedes Aegypti mosquito which bites during the day. In some patients it can cause severe, occasionally persistent, joint pain (arthritis), as well as fever and rashes. The infection is rarely life-threatening but it can cause substantial morbidity. One can get stooped posture due to joint pains.
The symptoms of chikungunya are similar to dengue fever. The symptoms of chikungunya fever generally start with fever 2-4 days after bite of an infected mosquito. The foremost symptoms of chikungunya fever is rapid onset of joint pains (which is severe, crippling migrating, polyarticular arthritis) and it may or may not be associated with muscle pain, high grade fever, conjunctivitis and rash.
The joint pain is a result of invasion of the joint cartilage by virus and subsequent inflammation. The macular or maculopapular rash is usually seen between 2 to 5 day after getting infected. It occurs most frequently on the trunk and limbs. Some patients can have conjunctivitis (infection of the eye) and minor bleeding in the skin and eye.
The condition is self-limiting and resolves with the passage of time with most patients recovering from chikungunya overtime. Drinking lots of water and taking plenty of rest can also help in reducing the pain and suffering. Mild exercises and regular body movement also tend to improve morning arthralgia (joint pain) and stiffness.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has not prescribed any vaccine or drug for treating chikungunya till now. Since there is no acceptable treatment in allopathic medicine; aspirin, combiflam, ibuprofen and paracetamol are been largely used by doctors for reducing the associated pain and fever.
The infection is rarely life-threatening and majority of the patients recover in a few days. But it can cause substantial morbidity such as prolonged fatigue lasting several weeks, pain in joints for months or years. The prolonged joint pain seen in chikungunya fever is usually not observed in dengue and hemorrhagic cases typical of dengue fever are not seen in chikungunya virus infection.
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