Chikungunya fever, extends to the epidemic

The fever of chikungunya, caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, is a disease that causes an acute febrile. Originating in Africa, is becoming more common in developed countries.


Chikungunya fever is a disease transmitted by a virus of the same name, infected through the bite of an infected mosquito, causing an acute febrile box, which usually resolves without complications. It was described for the first time in the year 1953 in Tanzania and soon after it was discovered that it was a disease endemic in Africa (in language makonde - Tanzania and Mozambique area - means 'twisting' or 'dry'). Since then have been described cases around the world, mainly in India and the rest of Asia.
Chikungunya virus belongs to the Group of Arboviruses, a type of virus that is transmitted by Arthropod Bites. It is a known virus for decades and mainly affecting underdeveloped countries where there is no a record of the number of cases, but estimated those affected to reach millions in 40 different countries of Africa. However, it's a relatively new infection in countries of Europe, America and Australia.
The main symptoms that causes this disease are very high fever and painful inflammation of the joints. Affected persons have a decay very important, similar to a flu, which forces them to remain on bed rest for a week. The treatment is symptomatic, since there are no specific drugs to eliminate the virus responsible for.
Fortunately the spread person to person is impossible, and outbreaks appear only in isolation, always associated with the emergence of the specific mosquitoes that transmit it. These mosquitoes are the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus, common insects in tropical countries and that transmit other diseases such as dengue. Mosquito bites the infected people, absorbs the virus and then spread to other people sound transmitting it with a bite. Prevent the bite of this mosquito is essential to avoid infection.
Since the 1950's the majority of the cases have occurred in Africa, with small outbreaks in the rest of the world always in relation to travelers from the continent. Just spread the epidemic by China, India and countries in their environment. However, since 2014 the number of cases has increased, mainly due to the epidemic which has spread in Dominican Republic (frequent tourist destination). Today cases in Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Panama, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and other Latin American countries have been described. Also, there have been cases in the United States, Italy, Spain, France and England, among others.
Therefore, chikungunya fever is already considered a global infectious disease and, despite being a pathology that most of the times does not imply serious complications, health authorities around the world are already on alert.

Causes of chikungunya fever

This disease is a virus, chikungunya, of the togaviridaefamily. These viruses have been known for decades to cause diseases that are transmitted by Arthropod Bites. You may not broadcast chikungunya fever virus from person to person. Its spread is always through some types of concrete mosquito, the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus
These mosquitoes cannot live in any climate, tropical or subtropical climates require to be able to play, that chikungunya fever has been limited in certain geographic regions, and now think about global warming as one of the causes which may explain why it is increasing the number of cases in other latitudes.
This particular type of mosquito bites mainly day, contrary to the majority of mosquitoes that bite at dusk, dawn or in the evening. Just chop the female, because you need human blood which promotes the synthesis of sex hormones to produce eggs.
Mosquito virus manages to bite an infected person and kept in your digestive system during an unknown time. Then infected with the chikungunya mosquito bites another human being and injects the virus into the bloodstream. From there it is distributed throughout the body. This produces an immunological reaction with production of many toxins and substances that favour the immune response that will eliminate the virus. This causes a clumsy infectious picture in the person suffering, with fever and impairment of general condition. Usually the disease resolves alone, when the immune system is able to control and eliminate the virus

Symptoms of chikungunya fever

Chikungunya fever You can cause symptoms at various levels of the human body, especially high fever and severe headaches joint. Their method of action is similar to that of dengue fever and other mosquito-borne viruses. The majority of people who are infected show symptoms, i.e., there are very few asymptomatic carriers. It is normal to start with signs of the disease between three and seven days after the bite.
The symptoms of chikungunya fever are:
· Fever with sore joints, are the most common symptoms, fever can last up to three days and reach 40 ° C.
· Head with malaise and muscle pain.
· Arthritis, inflammation of the joints.
· Exanthem or rash, spots fuzzy red skin that sometimes are accompanied by itching.
In the majority of cases disease only lasts seven days, after that occurs the total recovery of the patient. But in some people the joints pain may persist months, with or without associated inflammation.
Chikungunya fever is only mortal in the 0' 4% of those affected. In these cases the patient was unable to overcome the infection because they have a weak immune system. The most vulnerable are those with diseases (heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, cancer), elderly and newborn babies

Diagnosis of chikungunya fever

The clinical manifestations of chikungunya fever are very non-specific. There is no characteristic symptoms which make suspect is suffering from this disease in particular in the first place, it is difficult that the doctor diagnosed chikungunya fever directly.
However, you should think in this disease in the following situations:
· Fever in persons who have traveled to areas of risk (Africa, India, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean region).
· Dengue fever or malaria-like symptoms, having ruled out both (very high fever, rash in skin, arthritis, etc).
The diagnosis of chikungunya must be performed by a doctor with experience, but to confirm the disease it is necessary to request tests that check the infectious state and detected the virus responsible. You can analyze the blood in search of altered parameters that indicate infection (increase of leukocytes or elevation of C-reactive protein) and a study serologically with ELISA technique, looking for antibodies against the virus; but it takes several days, so it only serves to make the diagnosis of confirmation.

Treatment and prevention of chikungunya fever

There is no specific treatment for chikungunya fever. Treatment that exists only serves to alleviate the symptoms and can only be expected to our body's own defenses to eliminate the virus. The clinical picture may be treated with medications that alleviate discomfort for the patient, especially pain relievers that reduce fever and pain, such as acetaminophen. Avoid aspirin, because it may alter the blood clotting in similar clinical picture of increased risk.
When the picture of chikungunya is serious more aggressive interventions, can be although they are exceptional cases. All would be carried out under the supervision of specialists in intensive care and in an ICU (intensive care unit).
There is no vaccine against this virus to today so cured of the infection depends on the prior health status of the patient and health care is provided to you. In a country with good medical care is unlikely to die from this infection.
Currently major lines of research not be being conducted to study new drugs and vaccines against the virus because it is a disease that affects developing countries and had no interest to the richer countries. As a result, the best we can do, especially in endemic areas, is to try to prevent infection.

Chikungunya fever prevention

To prevent the spread of the virus and prevent the bite of the mosquito that transmits the chikungunya, a series of measures below are recommended. Remember that this type of mosquitoes today is not in Europe, North America or the countries of the Southern Cone of Latin America, so only you must perform these chikungunya prevention measures if you are traveling to countries at risk of infection (Asia, Africa and Caribbean):
· Using mosquito nets while you sleep and also in the windows to prevent the passage of mosquitoes.
· Avoid having the windows open during the day and night.
· Delete there standing water where beech (buckets, planters, etc.), this mosquito lives and reproduces in these environments.
· Dress white or very light clothing, with sleeve long whenever you can.
· Use insect repellent. If you wear sunscreen echarte repellent 20 minutes later.
· In the event that you suspect that you or someone close can have chikungunya fever stay calm, infection is prevented by avoiding bites, since is not transmitted from person to person. He goes to a nearby hospital to be examined by a doctor.
Article contributed for educational purposes
Health and Wellness

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