What is Chikungunya?
Chikungunya is a tropical disease spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and it's characterized by sudden fever, skin rash and joint pain. Chikungunya can get quite severe if followed by persistent rheumatic symptoms, however it has rarely caused death.
This disease occurs mainly in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It was first discovered during an outbreak in Southern Tanzania in 1952. Its origin comes from the alpha-virus of the family Togaviridae. The name "Chikungunya" derives from the Kimakonde Language, meaning "to become contorted", which alludes to sufferers with joint pain.
In 2011, The Health Department of Indonesia reported 2998 cases of Chikungunya, which showed a slight decrease from the previous years. Most cases occurred in regions such as Jakarta, West Java, DIY Yogyakarta, East Java, Aceh, West Sumatra, Lampung, Banten, Bali, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Gorontalo and West Sulawesi.
The latest Chikungunya events in Indonesia were reported in February 2017. About 20 people in Central Java tested positive.
Signs and Symptoms of Chikungunya
Symptoms of infection with Chikungunya are similar to the ones with dengue virus: high fever, severe headache, and pain in the eyes, joints, muscles, and bones.
The incubation period usually lasts between 4 to 8 days but it can range from 2 to 12 days. Since Chikungunya is a viral infection, if a person has been infected once, he or she are likely to be protected from future infections.
Complications are more commonly seen in infants, adults with co-morbidities and elderly patients. Intrauterine infections with vertical transmission have also been reported in pregnant women.
When to seek medical help?
Chikungunya virus can be found in the blood within the first week of infection, and it can be passed from one infected person to another through mosquito bites. Easiest way to investigate is to do a boost test and seek further treatment.
Currently there doesn't exist a preventive Chikungunya vaccine, however there's a standard treatment that could be started as soon as symptoms appear, such as antipyretics, analgesics, fluids or electrolytes.
Cikungunya Tips :
Aedes Aegypti can transmit other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue fever. This mosquito can bite throughout daylight hours, indoors as well as outdoors. In order to prevent chikungunya disease we would advise you to use mosquito repellent and also use a mosquito net, wear long sleeves and pants, etc.
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- Medscape Journal. 2016. Chikungunya Virus ; Access on 08/03/17
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- Republika Indonesia - Journal Online. 2017. 20 Warga Ungaran terserang Cikungunya ; access on 07/26/17
- Science Direct - Journal online 2016. Clinical and differential diagnosis : Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika ; access on