Monsoon is here and it has increased the risk of water-borne diseases like malaria, cholera, diarrhea, dengue and chikungunya. According to the most recent data, Delhi has reported 105 chikungunya cases from January 1 to June 17. The number of chikungunya cases increased in 2016 from the previous year and it is expected to increase more this year. Earlier, we had talked about malaria and its causes, symptoms and treatment in an article and now, here’s everything you need to know about chikungunya.

What is chikungunya?

Chikungunya is a viral infection caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and transmitted by mosquitoes. It is not considered as a contagious disease as it is not transmitted directly from person to person but is passed through mosquito bites. A person gets infected when a mosquito that contains chikungunya virus bites that person. The viruses multiply in that person and when an uninfected mosquito bites the person, it gets the virus. However, when the number of mosquitoes and humans infected by the CHIKV is high it can lead to an outbreak. In rare cases, a person can get infected by coming in contact with the infected blood.

Vaccines are not available for the prevention of Chikungunya or any treatment for it. Blood tests are carried out to diagnose the disease. It takes a week to recover from the infection but the symptoms may last for months. In older people, chikungunya can sometimes result in severe complications. Chikungunya rarely causes death.

What are the symptoms of chikungunya?

Mosquito

Mosquito

The symptoms of chikungunya infection are similar to those of dengue fever. They appear a few days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. It causes fever, headache and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include rashes, swelling, muscle pain and nausea. In rare cases it can also cause inflammation of liver, skin, kidney and heart. (ALSO READ Dengue fever symptoms: Symptoms, causes, treatment and everything you need to know about Dengue fever).

What are the treatments available for chikungunya?

There are no drugs or medicines for the treatment of chikungunya and usually, doctors advise the patient to consume more fluids and rest. Medicines are given to ease symptoms like fever and joint pain. The doctor may give you ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen to ease the pain or the fever.

How can you prevent chikungunya infection?

Since there is no vaccine available for chikungunya, the best way to prevent the infections is by protection against the mosquitoes. It is also important to control the population of mosquitoes. Here are some tips to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. (ALSO READ 7 tips to stay healthy this rainy season).

Use mosquito net: The mosquito net will prevent the mosquitoes from biting you.

Use mosquito repellent: Carry a mosquito repellent if you are going out and you know there are chances of mosquito bites.

Wear long sleeves: Wearing clothes that cover your whole body will protect you against mosquito bites.

Eliminate mosquito breeding spots: Stagnant water is a breeding spot for mosquitoes, so get rid of the containers or pots that retains rain water.

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