Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to people through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. It is frequently misdiagnosed as it clinically resembles Zika and dengue fever. Once considered to be a disease of the tropics, more and more cases of chikungunya have recently been documented in various countries around the world.
This blog answers common questions and is designed to provide key facts and information facts on the illness.
FAQ #1: What are the common symptoms of chikungunya?
The most common symptoms of infection are:
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Joint swelling
FAQ #2: How much fever denotes chikungunya?
Chikungunya virus symptoms are similar to those of other infections like dengue fever. After being bitten by a mosquito, the symptoms usually manifest a few days later. The following are the most common signs and symptoms: fever (up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit).
FAQ #3: How much time does it take to fully recover from this disease?
The majority of people recover completely, with acute symptoms disappearing in three to ten days. Joint discomfort, however, can persist for long. Studies have found that 30% to 70% of people have persistent joint pain months or years after the first infection in some persons.
Chikungunya complications seldom result in death, although the infection can create serious issues in older persons with other co-morbid conditions.
FAQ #4: Is chikungunya contagious?
The virus, like most mosquito-borne illnesses, can only be passed from person to person by blood-to-blood contacts, such as a mosquito bite or a blood transfusion with contaminated blood. By touching or caring for an infected patient, there is no chance of contracting chikungunya.
FAQ #5: Can chikungunya be transmitted from mother to child?
Chikungunya virus can rarely be transmitted from mother to newborn around the time of birth.
FAQ #6: Can breastfeeding transfer the virus to the infant?
The findings of various studies have confirmed that infants are not infected with the chikungunya virus as a result of breastfeeding. Given the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are advised to breastfeed even in regions where the chikungunya virus is widespread.
FAQ #7: How does chikungunya affect the brain?
The mosquito-borne virus chikungunya may lead to severe neurological complications like encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Some of the less frequent syndromes and diseases associated with chikungunya include:
- Seizures with or without fever
- Behavioural changes
- Sensorineural hearing loss
- Third nerve palsy
FAQ #8: Does exercise help chikungunya joint pain?
Stretching and other flexibility exercises may also aid in improving muscular mobility. While exercises help to relieve chikungunya pain, putting a cold pack on the affected areas can also help.
FAQ #9: Can you get chikungunya twice?
No. According to available evidence, antibodies in charge of protecting people develop after preliminary infection, usually providing life-long immunity.
FAQ #10: Which fruits are good for chikungunya?
Fruits that are loaded with several nutrients like mausami, pomegranate, banana, apple, pear, etc. help in controlling the symptoms. Papaya is highly recommended since there is a rapid fall in the blood platelet count.
FAQ #11: What should not be eaten in chikungunya?
It’s advisable to go easy on non-vegetarian food and switch to green-leafy vegetables as they are low on calories, packed with vitamins that are essential to replenish the body without overwhelming the system. Also, if possible, barley (sattu), and soups should be made a part of the diet as they help detoxify the liver.
FAQ #12: What is the best home remedy for chikungunya?
A few home remedies that can be used to cure chikungunya include:
- Epsom salt soak (Sendha salt)
- Coconut water
- Tulsi (Basil Leaves)
- Sunflower seeds and honey
FAQ #13: Is coconut water good for chikungunya?
Coconut water helps detoxify the body while keeping you hydrated during chikungunya fever.
FAQ #14: What are the long term effects of chikungunya?
The common long-term manifestations of chikungunya are:
- Persistent chronic joint pain
- Morning joint stiffness
- Muscle pain
- Joint swelling
FAQ #15: What happens if chikungunya goes untreated?
Chikungunya can cause a number of consequences if left untreated, including fever, weakness, and severe joint pain.
FAQ #16: Is there any vaccine for chikungunya
There is no vaccination or antiviral drug treatment available to protect against the chikungunya virus. The easiest approach to avoid contracting chikungunya is to avoid mosquito bites, and take preventive measures to avoid breeding of mosquitoes.
FAQ #17: What are the steps to prevent chikungunya?
The best way to prevent chikungunya is:
- Take necessary precautions to protect from mosquito bites
- Use insect repellents
- Wear light coloured clothing
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/jeans
- Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors
FAQ #18: Which test is done for chikungunya?
The definitive diagnosis for chikungunya can be done only by running blood tests. Detection of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) or viral RNA is the primary laboratory test used to diagnose the infection. The sample is collected <6 days after onset of illness.
Though rarely life-threatening, the symptoms can be severe and disabling, causing long-term pain. So it is important to visit a doctor as soon as you suspect having chikungunya symptoms in order to rule out dengue fever, as the symptoms of both mimic each other.