Chikungunya: What Causes This Viral Infection?

What Is Chikungunya?

rare viral infections

Chikungunya is a rare viral infection that is spread by infected mosquitos. The condition is very rare and typically affects the elderly or those with already compromised health. It is found most often in Africa and Asia. Symptoms of the disease don’t present until two days to two weeks after being bitten by an affected mosquito. Once symptoms present, chikungunya can be mild and resolve on its own within a week or two, or it can be more severe, lasting for months. In those with already compromised health, it can ultimately lead to death.

Causes

Chikungunya is transmitted through mosquito bites from mosquitos that have picked up the disease from rodents or other animals. Two specific species of mosquitos, Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, are known to carry the disease.

Types

There is only one type of chikungunya.

Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Painful, swollen joints
  • Rash
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle Pain

chikungunya

Diagnosis

Your primary care physician can diagnose chikungunya. Diagnosis may be difficult because the disease mimics similar conditions, like the Zika virus. Confirming the diagnosis is usually dependent on blood tests that can show the presence of chikungunya.

Treatment

The best way to treat chikungunya is through prevention. Preventing mosquito bites with protective clothing or insect repellant can reduce the likelihood of getting the virus in the first place. If you do contract chikungunya, the best treatment is rest. Doctors recommend you get plenty of rest and drink fluids to stay hydrated. Taking Acetaminophen can help reduce fever, muscle pain and joint pain.

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