Chikungunya virus infection. Chikungunya is an infectious disease caused by the Chikungunya virus. This virus is spread through mosquitoes and occurs in many countries. Previously it was mainly countries around the Indian Ocean and in Africa. But in recent years the disease has also spread to America, the Caribbean, and Suriname. The mosquitoes get the virus through the blood of infected monkeys or humans. The mosquitoes sting during the day and can occur in many places, especially in urban areas.
How do you recognize Chikungunya?
The symptoms usually occur between 2 and 4 days after the infection. The symptoms are rapidly emerging high fever, pain in the joints and muscles, headache and a red rash. The result can sometimes persist for months. The type and extent of the complaints can vary greatly. Some people are hardly ill and others have serious symptoms, this is mainly seen in newborns and the elderly. People with reduced immunity are also more often ill.
How does Chikungunya arise?
Chikungunya is caused by infection with the Chikungunya virus. The virus is spread through the bite of certain mosquito species that puncture during the day. These mosquitoes probably get the virus into the body after they have stung infected monkeys or humans.
What can you expect?
The fever usually disappears within 2 to 7 days. Most people are completely recovered after 10 days. The pain in the joints can sometimes last longer. In very rare cases this can take years. People with reduced resistance have a greater chance of the disease progressing more seriously. There is no treatment or vaccine against the disease.
When to the doctor?
If you get a fever after or during a stay in a country where Chikungunya occurs, it is always advisable to consult a doctor. Although there is no treatment for Chikungunya, other diseases must be excluded.
What can you do about it yourself?
The body’s defenses must render the virus harmless. It is therefore important to properly support the resistance. Ensure a good night’s rest and good nutrition. If you suffer from painful joints, you can use pain killers. If you have Chikungunya, stay under a mosquito net as much as possible to prevent you from infecting mosquitoes that in turn can make people in the area sick again.
General advice and precautions?
The most important thing is to prevent mosquito bites. Therefore, use anti-mosquito spreads with DEET.
Make sure your skin isn’t bare by wearing clothes with long sleeves and legs. Use a mosquito net. If you live in an area where Chikungunya occurs, remove all places around the house with stagnant water (pools, ponds).
Chikungunya virus infection