Chikungunya – Signs, Symptoms, Complications & Prevention

Chikungunya is a self-limiting viral disease caused by chikungunya virus which is transmitted to humans by an infected female Aedes aegypti, mosquitoes. Chikungunya symptoms include fever and severe joint pain. Other commonly seen symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and skin rash. Joint pain is often debilitating involving all the joints; it varies in severity and duration. Patients with severe joint pain should be suspected to have chikungunya. The clinical signs and presentation are similar to other viral infections especially dengue and can be misdiagnosed as dengue clinically. Dengue fever which can be diagnosed at the early stage of fever by laboratory tests should be done to rule out. How does it affect our body? The virus attacks the lining of the joints in the body and causes inflammation and pain, which can last from few weeks to years. But in most of the cases patients recover without any residual joint pain. How is it Diagnosed?? Serological tests that detects IgM and IgG antibodies are used to confirm Chikungunya infection. The IgM antibody suggests recent infection, but they tend to peak after three weeks of infection and persist for about two months. So tests done for chikungunya in the early course of disease may show negative results. So it is advised to do these tests after four weeks of suspicion of chikungunya to get a correct report. Virology tests to detect the virus early in the course of the disease can be done. These tests are very expensive and not routinely done unless there is very high suspicion or the disease is very severe. How does it spread?...