Chikungunya virus earlier prevalent in Southern India only has now spread to as far as Delhi. The national capital is reporting a daily increase in the number of Chikungunya patients. According to the information provided by AIIMS, New Delhi as many as 391 people were tested positive for Chikungunya till Aug 20. While the National Vector Borne Disease Control (NVBDC), Directorate of Health Servoces (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India), shows 256 cases of Chikungunya at various hospitals in Delhi.
As per the NVBDCP, in the year 2014, 16,049 cases of Chikungunya were reported in the country, the figure rose to 27,553 in 2015 and this year 10,000 cases have already been registered till July. “Chikungunya virus has possibly adapted itself to the changing weather conditions. That is why there has been a sudden spike in the number of cases,” says NVBDCP Director A C Dhariwal. “But there is no reason to panic as the mortality rate is very low,” he adds.
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It is spread by the same mosquito that is responsible for the spread of Zika and Dengue viruses. The symptoms include fever and severe joint pain, nausea, fatigue and rashes. Some symptoms of this disease can last from weeks to months.
While there is no vaccine to prevent or treat Chikungunya virus, doctors give crocin for fever and some multivitamins to keep the body strength. Patients are advised to take plenty of rest and drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
Things you should know about Chikungunya
Chikungunya is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito. This is the same mosquito that transmits Dengue and Yellow Fever.The infection usually lasts for 7 to 10 days. Most people bitten by the infected mosquito will get the infection.
The symptoms usually start four-eight days after getting bitten and the most common symptoms is high fever. Other symptom is severe joint pain which can be very disabling. You will get sudden pain in hands, wrists and ankles. Sometime there is swelling in the joints and the body may feel stiff in the morning after you wake up. Other symptoms include headache, fatigue, rashes and nausea.
Chikungunya can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. The commonly available ELISA blood test can be used to check Chikungunya antibodies. Any patient having any of the above-mentioned symptoms must get his/her blood test done.
There is no specific vaccine or antivirals for this infection, and the treatment is primarily symptomatic. Since the symptoms of Chikungunya are similar to dengue one must not consume medicines like aspirin, diclofenac and ibuprofen without getting a blood test done. These medicines can cause platelets to fall in Dengue infection, and that can be very dangerous.
Things that will provide relief to a chikungunya patient
1. Light aerobic exercises
2. Massaging the body
3. Cold compressors on forehead for fever and around joints for pain
4. Consuming citrus fruits and vegetables, turmeric and ginger. While turmeric and citrus fruits and vegetables have anti-oxidant properties, ginger is a great anti-inflammatory agent. All these build body’s immunity and give it the much-required strength.
5. Consuming leafy green vegetables. These are good against inflammation and pain due to presence of vitamin E and anti-oxidants.