About Chikungunya

Early this year, the World Health Organization reported Chikungunya outbreak in more than three Counties in Kenya. This sparked debate on our health sector. If you never had a chance to understand what the disease was all about, then this is for you.

What is all about this Chikungunya disease? I t is a mosquito borne viral disease that is mainly characterized by joint pains.  This virus remains in the body for 5 -7 days.

Abrupt fever, joint pains, muscle pain, nausea, fatigue and rash are some of the symptoms of Chikungunya.  The affected part get irritable and cause itching which leads to painful rashes. The joint pain drains and weakens the affected individual. It can lead to death if not treated timely.

Responsible mosquitoes are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Onset of disease symptoms is after 4-8 days where the signs are self limiting and can take 2-3 days.

If not well diagnosed it can be confused with dengue for it is also caused by the same mosquito.

It is unfortunate the disease does not have a specific anti-viral drug for its treatment neither does it have vaccines for body protection against it. However, prevention is better than cure and some ways to prevent contracting the disease are similar to those of vector diseases. Clearing natural and artificial water filled containers that act as their habitats will reduce breeding. Spraying insecticides to the affected areas may be used to kill the mosquitoes and destroy immature larvae. During outbreaks, individual are advised to put on clothes that cover most of their body parts to reduce skin exposure to the vector bite. Repellents may also be applied especially to exposed body parts. Rooms should be well fitted with screens to reduce the mosquitoes from having access to rooms.

We are advised to seek medical support especially in areas prone to the diseases or in case of an outbreak. Be cautious.