The Chikungunya virus is a type of virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Like any other virus, once you become infected with it, it’s going to cause you a lot of pain, like fever and severe pain in the joints. Other signs and symptoms of infection include muscle pain, headache, fatigue, nausea, and rashes.
A Chikungunya viral infection shares some clinical signs with dengue, and could be wrongly diagnosed in places where dengue infections are common. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this type of condition, and treatment is often centered on reducing the signs and symptoms.
Are you at risk of infection? That really depends on whether or not you live in close proximity to mosquito breeding sites.
The highest incidences of Chikungunya infection happen in Asia, Africa, and also the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades, however, carriers of the virus have spread to Europe and also the Americas. In 2007, the first incidence outside of Asia, Africa and the Indian continent happened for the first time inside north-eastern Italy.
The first symptoms of infection include high fever frequently and joint pain. The joint pain is frequently debilitating, and usually lasts for a couple of days or longer. Most sufferers recover fully, but in some instances joint pain persists for several weeks. Eye, nerve and heart complications have also been reported, in addition to gastrointestinal complaints. Although serious complications are uncommon, an infection can sometimes lead death in the elderly. Frequently signs and symptoms in infected people are so mild, it often goes undetected. At other times, it is misdiagnosed as dengue.
Chikungunya infections have been reported in 40 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and in the America.
Infection transfers from human to human through the bites of the infected female mosquitoes belonging to the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species. The two species also transmit other viruses, including dengue. These mosquitoes bite during the daytime, even though there might be peaks in their activity during early morning and during late afternoon.
Following a bite by an infected mosquito, the start of illness happens usually between four and eight days, although it could happen as early as two days or as late as twelve days.
Several techniques can be used to diagnose an infection. Serological tests, for example, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), may confirm the existence anti-chikungunya antibodies. Antibody levels are greatest 3 to 5 days following the start of illness and persist for two weeks. Samples collected throughout the very first week following the start of signs and symptoms ought to be examined by both serological and virological techniques.
The virus can be isolated in the bloodstream following a few days after infection. There are several techniques to diagnose an infection, however, they are of variable sensitivity. Some techniques a good for diagnosing an infection while some methods are for genotyping the virus, a sample to be compared with other samples from different sources.
As we said before, there’s no treatment for curing a Chikungunya infection, and there’s also no vaccine for it.