Mosquitoes are at the heart of many tropical diseases and that includes the Chikungunya Fever. It is a viral infection spread by biting mosquitoes infected with a virus. The symptoms from this illness resemble those of dengue fever and can include arthritic pain in the joints, rashes and fever. While it is not usually life-threatening, it can be serious and keep you down and out for a while.
While the symptoms of Chikungunya fever have been traced back to the 19th century in India and other Asian countries, it wasn’t until the mid 1950’s that the virus causing the fever was pinpointed and the mosquito transmission validated. Typically, this fever, often nicknamed Chik fever, occurs in epidemics with a number of years between each outbreak.
Chik fever has occurred in such areas as Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, several countries in Africa, islands in the Indian Ocean and various other Asian areas. As mentioned before, this fever resembles dengue fever and in fact, was considered as such until the mid 1950’s when the virus was microscopically identified as being different from dengue.
Treatment of Chikungunya Fever
There is no particular vaccination or medication that cures or treats Chik fever. And as mentioned previously, it is not usually life-threatening except in those cases where the person’s immune system is already compromised. Usually, treatment consists of taking care of the individual symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen helps with the fever, headaches and joint pain.
Recovery is usually a given; however, many people who have experienced Chikungunya fever continue to have pain in the joints for a prolonged period of time. Pain medication and over the counter pain relievers are the typically solution for this pain.
Preventative and Controlling Measures
The prevention of Chikungunya fever is dependent on avoiding the mosquito bites that caused the viral infection in the first place. In addition, mosquito breeding sites must be treated to prevent the spread of infected mosquitoes. The best solution to avoiding mosquito bites when you have to travel to these disease prone areas is to wear long sleeves and long pants to cover up as much skin as possible.
Other preventative measures include tucking your shirt into your pants and your pants into boots or your shoes to block mosquito entrance to skin. Repellents and other insecticide measures should be employed as well. Using repellent with DEET should help keep the pesky critters from swarming you.
Using mosquito netting treated with the insecticide permethrin should also block these flying creatures from interrupting your nap, lounging or sleep times when used to protect your bed and living areas. Wearing this netting over your hat is also help as well and will protect your face and neck areas from bites.
When traveling overseas where Chik fever is known to occur, you will also want to avoid areas of stagnant or standing water as these are perfect breeding grounds for the virus carrying mosquitoes. Stick with the preventative mosquito bite measures when venturing beyond the air conditioned urban areas during your trip.