What is Chikungunya Fever?
Chikungunya fever (CF) is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected Aedes mosquitoes that cause high grade fever and severe joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms are muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Some symptoms are similar as Zika or dengue fever for that it sometimes misdiagnosed in several areas. Chikungunya virus cannot be spread directly from person to person.
Causative Agent of Chikungunya Fever:
Chikungunya fever is caused by Chikungunuya virus (CHIKV) which is an RNA virus.
Vector of Chikungunya Virus:
It is a vector borne disease. The adult female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus is main vector to spread the disease. Aedes aegypti is the common vector responsible for transmission of disease in urban areas whereas Aedes albopictus is responsible to transmit disease in rural areas.
The Aedes mosquito generally breeds in domestic settings such as clean water collections in containers, flower vases, air coolers, tanks, disposables, etc. and peri-domestic areas such as constructions sites, coconut shells, discarded household junk items (tyres, plastic and metal cans), natural habitats like tree holes, plantations etc. The adult female mosquito take rests in cool and shady areas in domestic and peri-domestic settings and bites during day time.
Incubation Period of Chikungunya Virus:
This type of virus causes a febrile illness in the majority of people with an incubation period of 2 to 4 days from the mosquito bite.
Mode of Transmission of Chikungunya Virus:
Humans are infected by Aedes aegypti and albopictus mosquitoes, containing Chikungunya virus, when they bite (blood meal) humans. The viruses then multiply in humans. Uninfected mosquitoes bite the infected humans to complete the viral replication cycle. Then infected mosquitoes bite the humans and transmit the virus to uninfected humans. Its transmission is related to rainfall and ambient temperature.
Symptoms of Chikungunya Fever:
The chikungunya fever is rarely fatal, but the symptoms can be acute and disabling. Clinical manifestations of chikungunya are pointed below:
- Fever (sometimes as high as 104 °F),
- Joint pain (lower back, ankle, knees, wrists or phalanges),
- Joint swelling,
- Back pain,
These acute symptoms are typically recovered within 7–10 days .But some patients might reverse of rheumatologic symptoms (e.g., poly arthralgia, polyarthritis, and tenosynovitis) in months following acute illness. 20% of patients report recurring joint pain even after 1 year.