Chikungunya virus has been involved in epidemics in African and Asian subcontinents and, of late, has caused wide spread infection in India especially in the year 2016.
Chikungunya can cause fever, joint pain, back pain and headache. It can also cause skin problems like rash, oral ulcer and hyperpigmentation.
Chikungunya infection can lead to various rheumatic manifestations including arthritis, tendon swelling, rheumatoid arthritis, cryoglobulinemia, and psoriatic arthritis have all been observed as post-infectious sequelae. These manifestations if detected early, can be managed without causing much damage to joints or other body organs like lung, heart, brain, kidney etc.
Control of Infection: Emphasis should be on early detection of suspected human cases and improved environmental control measures against the transmitting mosquito. The primary target would be to curtail the viral transmission by avoiding mosquito bites. Infection control can be emphasized at two levels—individual and community.
Individual Level: The adult female mosquito bites during daytime. Physical protection measures including full-sleeved clothing, application of mosquito repellent over the exposed body parts, use of permethrin-treated clothing, insecticide-treated bednets, and wire mesh/nets on doors and windows should be encouraged. Mosquito repellents providing long-lasting protection should be used.
Community Level: The foremost step would be to target the mosquito breeding grounds. Aedes mosquito (that transmits chikungunya) breeds in stored/stagnant fresh water in domestic settings such as flower vases and water storage containers, and in peridomestic areas such as construction sites, coconut shells, unused abandoned tires, plastic, and metal cans. Such breeding sites must be destroyed and treated with insecticide. Adult mosquitoes can be controlled by the use of chemical insecticides (pyrethrum extract, malathion) for indoor spray.
Treatment: It can be cured if the patients visit a specialist (Rheumatologist) at the appropriate time without a delay.
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