Monday, June 18, 2007

India on Chikungunya Alert

Chikungunya, a viral disease, is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, typically 'Aedes aegypti'(Alpha Virus), although there may be other competent mosquito vectors. The name, chickungunya, comes from the Swahili for stooped walk, reflecting the physique of a person suffering from the disease. Chikungunya, which has dengue-like symptoms of very high fever and rash, is highly contagious and disabling. The disease has been described in Africa, South-East Asia, southern India and Pakistan. It occurs principally during the rainy season and is not considered fatal, so far.

  • Chikungunya is rarely fatal. Symptoms appear between 4 and 7 days after the patient has been bitten by the infected mosquito.
  • A high fever and headache occur, with significant pains in the joints (ankles, wrists) ,rashes and can persist for several weeks.

Preventive Measures:

  • Good Hygiene, Healthy Eating Practices

  • Good House keeping

  • Proper spraying of disinfectants

  • The main preventive measure is to stop the proliferation of mosquitoes by reducing their breeding grounds. We should take care to see that the surroundings are kept clean and hygienic, without stagnant water-the main source for mosquito breeding.

As per MOHFW (Ministry of Health & Family Welfare) mosquito-control is the only way to fight chikungunya. Health Ministry teams have already been sent to the states and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases is monitoring the situation. While supportive, palliative medical care with anti-inflammatories and analgesics is available; there is no specific treatment for chikungunya. It is usually self-limiting, disappearing with time.

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