Definition: Chikungunya is an illness caused by a virus called chikungunya (Family Toprinidae). Two forms of mosquitoes transmit the virus among individuals: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti.
During the day, they mostly bite. In a variety of species including; birds and rodents, the virus will circulate. The virus was first isolated during an outbreak in Tanzania in 1952-1953 from patients and mosquitoes.
The virus occurs extensively in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and in many areas in Asia, There was an outbreak of this disease in Kolkata in 1963-1964 and another in Chennai in 1965, which resulted in 3,00,000 cases in Chennai city alone. Chikungunya is a local word meaning “doubling up due to excruciating (intensely painful) joint pains.”
- During the rainy season, when the Aedes aegypti mosquito vector population is at its peak, this disease occurs. Mosquitoes infect humans with bites. Analysis suggests that the virus has a wild cycle that occurs between jungle primates and mosquitoes; like Aedes and members of the Aedes family, close to that of yellow fever.
- Fever with rigors can rise from 103°C to 104°C. Fever contributes to the production of interferons in significant amounts. Chikungunya fever is not a life-threatening illness. Using anti-inflammatory drugs together with rest, symptomatic treatment for mitigating pain and fever is typically appropriate. Although the anticipated outcome is recovery from chikungunya, convalescence may be prolonged (up to a year or more) and analgesic and long-term anti-inflammatory therapy can be. needed for chronic joint pain.
- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat, and Kerala are the states affected by Chikungunya. In 2006, the country reported a total number of 13,90,322 suspected cases of Chikungunya fever.
Agent/Factor: Two forms of mosquitoes transmit the virus among individuals: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti.
Host Factors: Monkeys are the primary virus reservoirs, but other humans, rodents, and birds can also be infected.
Environmental Factors: Floods, Global warming, Population explosion, Deforestation, Development of resistance in vectors to insecticides, unplanned urbanization, etc.
Incubation Period: The time varies from 1 to 12 days after the bite. However, the resulting fever normally affects the immune system of the person. Similarly, infants are often particularly susceptible to the onset of initial symptoms such as; fever and pain in the body.
Mode of Transmission
- The Chikungunya virus is only spread by mosquitoes. During the viraemic phase, the mosquito picks up the virus from an infected human, within five days from the day the symptoms begin. An infected mosquito will remain infected for its entire life cycle and each time it bites, it will spread the virus. The infection cannot be transmitted directly to other people by an infected person.
- In India, the principal vector of this virus is Aedes aegypti Aedes Albopictus and Aedes vitiates can be spread through it.
- The Chikungunya fever virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes from person to person. The principal vector species is Aedes aegypti, and it is widespread in most urban areas Aedes aegypti breeds almost entirely in domestic man-made water reservoirs found in and around homes, building sites and factories, groundwater storage tanks, etc. become primary habitats in a hot and dry area. Under the optimum environment, the life cycle of the Aedes Aegyptus aquatic stage can be as short as 7 days.
- It can take several weeks for adults to develop at low temperatures. There is an estimated adult survival of just 8 days for Aedes aegypti. The danger of vine transmission is greater during the rainy season if survival is long (up to 21 days).
- Aedes aegypti is extremely anthropophilic. As a diurnal species, females have two biting periods, one for several hours in the morning after daybreak and the other for several hours in the afternoon before dark.
- Aedes aegypti generally does not bite at night, but in illuminated rooms, it will feed at night
- In dark, humid places inside homes or buildings including bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens, Aedes aegypti prefers to rest. The underside of the furniture, hanging items such as garments and curtains and on walls are the chosen indoor resting surfaces. It can less often be found in vegetation or other protected places outdoors.
- When taking a blood meal from a person in the acute febrile phase of the disease, female Aedes aegypti typically become infected with the chikungunya virus.
- The salivary glands of the mosquito become infected after an extrinsic incubation period (8 to 10 days) and the virus is transmitted when the infected mosquito bites inject salivary fluid into another person’s wound.
Symptoms of Chikungunya
Severe joint pain, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, headache, redness of eyes, rashes on limbs, diarrhea, meningeal syndrome, etc.
As symptoms are not always easy to tell apart from other conditions, only a blood test can certainly diagnose chikungunya. Some of the tests available include; viral culture, tests based on serological and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), etc.
Prevention and Control of Chikungunya
- To avoid chikungunya, there is no vaccine or medication. The avoidance of mosquito bites is the best way to avoid chikungunya.
- It can be difficult to avoid bites, but it is necessary to follow these measures to minimize the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes during your journey, as you can get sick after only one bite.
- Do not store water in open containers so that they do not become breeding sites for mosquitoes.
- Cover tanks or containers for water for domestic use.
- Wearing bite-proof long sleeves and trousers (pants) also offers protection.
- Using mosquito nets.
- Regular cleaning of water tanks, surrounding areas, and the drains.
- Children should wear protective clothing.
- Avoid spending a lot of time outdoors during the day in areas where chikungunya is prevalent. Mosquitoes tend to bite in the daytime.
- Net over your bed to prevent mosquitoes from biting you while you sleep.
- Avoid over-watering.
- Change birdbath twice a week.
- Keep gutters clean.
- Use insect repellent.
- Avoid mosquito bites and reduction in the density of nectars.
- Mosquitoes receiving sub-lethal dosages of insecticides may affect the CHIK virus susceptibility of Aedes aegypti.
- All the preventive measures advocated for the control of A. aegypti to be adopted.
1. Health Education: Import knowledge of the disease and nectar to common individuals through various media outlets such as; news reports, exhibits, TV, radio, cinema slides, etc.
2. Community Participation: Sensitizing and involving the population for the identification and removal of Aedes breeding sites.
- Inform travelers going to regions with known virus transmission about the risk of disease.
- Planned approach, besides knowledge and awareness of early warning signs, for prevention.
- Special campaigns for public awareness.
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