Chikungunya virus spreads to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms of infection are fever and joint pain. Other Chikungunya symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
Cases of Chikungunya were first recorded in Tanzania, Africa in 1952, then in Uganda in 1963.
The outbreak is common in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, the Chikungunya virus was discovered for the first time in the Americas, precisely the islands of the Caribbean.
There is a risk that the virus will be imported into new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or a cure to treat Chikungunya virus infection.
Chikungunya symptoms are similar to those experienced by Dengue sufferers. This is because it is a natural body reaction in the fight against viruses that enter the body. Chikungunya will usually notice symptoms after the incubation period of the first or second week. Symptoms of Chikungunya similar to Dengue include:
- Fever, occurs suddenly which reaches 39 degrees Celsius
- Severe headache.
- Joint pain
- Redness patches on the skin
What distinguishes the symptoms of Chikungunya and Dengue is where the Chikungunya sufferer will feel severe pain in the joints and muscles. This makes the hands and feet difficult to move. These symptoms generally appear shortly after the fever.
Specific symptoms include joint pain, especially elbow, knee, wrist and foot joints, as well as muscle pain that lasts about a week. Sometimes the pain is accompanied by mild swelling and usually the most pain is felt in the morning.
However, the symptoms of joint pain are usually only experienced by older persons, whereas in children, these symptoms are rarely found. In addition, sufferers will always feel tired. There have been several cases of children having seizures as a result of this virus.
Fever in Chikungunya can last 1 to 2 weeks. However, for joint pain can be felt over a period of years until the pain fades.
Based on the course of the disease, Chikungunya is distinguished based on two phases, namely the acute phase and the chronic phase.
If you find any symptoms of Chikungunya like this immediately do an examination at the nearest health center.
Acute phase of Chikungunya Symptoms (0-7 days)
The acute phase means the initial phase of the disease, usually lasting from a few days to several weeks. Characteristics of the acute phase include sudden chills, high fever reaching 40°C (104°F), nausea, vomiting, headache, arthralgia (joint pain), and in some cases, a maculopapular rash that means there are patches or spots of redness and pop-ups on the skin.
Severe joint and muscle pain is Chikungunya’s most dominant symptom. The pain is so great that it makes it very difficult for the victim to make movements.
Fever usually lasts for two days and then ends abruptly. However, other symptoms such as joint pain, severe headaches, and insomnia can last about 5 to 7 days.
During the acute phase, viral load or the number of viruses in the body can reach 10E8 (ten power eight) of viral particles per ml of blood. The virus spreads in the body and it is shown to infect epithelial and endothelial cells, primary fibroblasts and macrophages derived from monocytes, which means it attacks the muscles, joints, and connective tissues of the skin.
Most sufferers feel better within a week. However, in some people, Chikungunya symptoms in the form of joint pain can continue for months.
Chikungunya chronic symptoms
After passing the acute phase, the next stage is a chronic phase characterized by poly-arthralgia (pain in many joints) that can last from weeks to years. Some even suffer from joint pain for up to 2 years, depending on their age and several other factors.
Ninety-five percent of infected older persons will experience Chikungunya symptoms as described earlier. And most of them have disabilities or reduced mobility for weeks to months due to decreased dexterity, loss of mobility, and joint pain. Even 30-40% of sufferers reported experiencing recurrent joint pain, even though the acute phase of the disease was already bypassed.
In severe conditions, Chikungunya disease also has the potential to cause various complications, such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), uveitis and retinitis (inflammation of the eyes), meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain and meninges), and mild bleeding.
People at risk of severe illness include newborns, Elderly persons (65 years old), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
Beware of Mosquito-borne Diseases