Chikungunya is a latent threat that most of us are unaware of and extremely ill-equipped against. You might wonder, why am I being so dramatic, but sadly there is more truth here than drama.
I too was a part of the major population that assumed such cases only happened to those who weren’t prepared or those who lived in shabby places. But when my in-laws suffered from Chikungunya last year, I was in for a rude shock.
Let’s look at some of the facts
- In just three years chikungunya cases in India have increased by 390 %
- The states that top the list of maximum reported cases of Chikungunya are Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi.
I came across this information while reading up about the disease and I was shocked and scared for my family. These are well-developed states in the country and yet they were the places where maximum cases of Chikungunya were found! There was something terribly wrong here!
What is Chikungunya?
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease with the first recorded 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”. A person suffering from this diseases experiences acute joint pain.
Symptoms of Chikungunya
The major symptoms of Chikungunya are abrupt fever accompanied by acute joint pain. Apart from this there could be rashes, nausea, headache, and fatigue. As this is similar to symptoms of dengue there is a probability of misdiagnosis. However never ignore abrupt fever and always get timely medical help. The joint pain is often very incapacitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks. The recovery might take longer with old age. Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years. If you have other complications like diabetes or heart diseases the doctors might want to keep you under observation.
Care and Precaution against Chikungunya
There is no vaccine or medicines to treat Chikungunya. The medicines help manage the symptoms and avoid any other complications; hence it is extremely important to take precautions against this disease. As this disease is spread by mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito to be specific, ensuring that there are no mosquitoes in and around the house is the first step.
- Always use a mosquito repellent at home, even during the mornings, as Aedes Aegypti is most active during early morning hours.
- While going out use fabric roll-on’s or patches to avoid mosquito bites.
- Clean surroundings and don’t let water stagnate around your house. This mosquito can breed even in small amounts of waters, so watch out.
- Regularly fumigate surroundings and grow mosquito repellent plants like lemon grass in the balconies.
How do you protect your family from diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria? What steps do you take to get rid of mosquitoes? Do share in the comments below.