Chikungunya is a viral disease which is spread by the bites of mosquitoes. It is a mosquito-borne fever which can cause high-grade fever and crippling joint pain. The first outbreak of this viral disease was witnessed in Southern Tanzania in the year 1962. The tongue-twisting name of the disease has originated from the Kimakonde language which means to become ‘contorted’.
It was basically spread after mosquitoes which bit the infected animals, bit the humans, infecting them. Additionally, when a mosquito feeds on the blood of an infected person and then bites other people, it can infect them as well. The two species of the virus which spread chikungunya are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These types of mosquitoes are found throughout the world and are also responsible for the spread of the dengue virus. This disease is caused by an RNA virus.
The onset of chikungunya may cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, joint pain and crippling body ache. These symptoms come to fore 5 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. It is important to understand that while there is no cure for this disease, complete attention is paid to effectively manage the symptoms to aid recovery.
For the correct diagnosis of chikungunya, it is important to get a blood test done as the symptoms can mimic other mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever or zika virus. Remember, if chikungunya is not tested at the right time, it does not even reflect in the lab results.