Things to know
➡️Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
➡️Joint pain is often debilitating and can vary in duration.
➡️The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue and zika, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where they are common.
➡️There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.
➡️The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya.
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease first described during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952. It is an RNA virus that belongs to the alphavirus genus of the family Togaviridae. The name “chikungunya” derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning “to become contorted”, and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain (arthralgia).
Signs and symptoms ❗️Abrupt onset of fever
The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks. Hence the virus can cause acute, subacute or chronic disease. Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years. Occasional cases of eye, neurological and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints. Serious complications are not common, but in older people, the disease can contribute to the cause of death. Often symptoms in infected individuals are mild and the infection may go unrecognized, or be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue occurs.