Chikungunya

Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a viral infection characterized by fever and sudden joint pain. This virus attacks and infects humans through the bite of the  Aedes aegypti  or  Aedes albopictus mosquitoes , two types of mosquitoes which are also known to cause dengue fever.

According to data from the Indonesian Ministry of Health, there were 5,042 cases of chikungunya in Indonesia throughout 2019. Of these cases, 1,044 cases occurred in West Java province, followed by Lampung with 829 cases, and Gorontalo with 534 cases. However, until now there have been no reports of deaths from chikungunya.

Causes of Chikungunya

Chikungunya is caused by the Chikungunya virus which is carried by the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito . The two mosquitoes are a type of mosquito that also transmits dengue fever and the Zika virus . Generally, these mosquitoes bite during the day and night.

The Aedes mosquito acquires the Chikungunya virus when it bites someone who has been infected previously. Transmission occurs when another person is bitten by a mosquito carrying the chikungunya virus. However, the chikungunya virus is only transmitted through mosquitoes and does not spread directly between humans.

Chikungunya can attack anyone. However, the risk of developing this disease is higher in newborns, people aged 65 years and over, and people with other medical conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and  heart disease .

Symptoms of Chikungunya

In some cases, chikungunya does not cause any symptoms. However, most sufferers experience symptoms that appear within 3–7 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. These symptoms generally include:

  • Fever  up to 39°C
  • A reddish rash
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Bone pain
  • Swollen joints
  • Headache
  • Weak
  • Nauseous

In general, the above symptoms will improve within 1 week. However, in some patients, joint pain can last for months. In addition, although very rare, severe symptoms of chikungunya can also cause  temporary paralysis .

When to go to the doctor

Immediately consult a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, or if you have previously visited an area where there are many cases of chikungunya.

Do not delay seeing a doctor if you experience symptoms such as visual disturbances, abdominal pain, bleeding, loss of consciousness, severe pain, and swollen joints.

Diagnosis Chikungunya

To diagnose chikungunya, the doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms and travel history. The doctor will also do blood tests to rule out the possibility of symptoms caused by other diseases, such as dengue fever .

To further confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will perform an ELISA ( enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays ) test. The ELISA test is a serological test used to check for the presence of chikungunya IgM and IgG antibodies. Generally, IgM antibody levels are very high 3–5 weeks after symptoms appear and can last up to 2 months.

Chikungunya Treatment

Chikungunya does not require special treatment, because it will heal on its own. In most cases, the symptoms of this disease will subside within 1-2 weeks. However, joint pain can last for months or even years.

Chikungunya treatment is only to relieve the symptoms of this disease. Your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory  drugs or bone flu medications , such as paracetamol, ibuprofen , or naproxen, to relieve joint pain and fever. In addition, patients will also be advised to drink plenty of water and get enough rest.

To prevent bleeding, do not take aspirin or non -steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) until your doctor confirms that the symptoms you are experiencing are not symptoms of dengue fever. In addition, consult with your doctor first if you are undergoing treatment for other conditions.

Complications of Chikungunya

In rare cases, chikungunya can cause dangerous complications, such as:

  • Inflammation of the uvea of ​​the eye ( uveitis )
  • Inflammation of the retina of the eye (retinitis)
  • Inflammation of the heart muscle ( myocarditis )
  • Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis)
  • Inflammation of the liver ( hepatitis )
  • Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
  • Inflammation of one segment of the spinal cord (myelitis)
  • Arthritis ( rheumatism ) or worsening of pre-existing arthritis
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome , a disorder of the nervous system that can cause paralysis)

Chikungunya Prevention

Prevention of chikungunya is done by reducing the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes , one of which is by eradicating mosquito nests (PSN) through 3M Plus actions, namely:

  • Drain the water reservoir
  • Close the water storage
  • Recycling used goods that can hold water

Meanwhile, the Plus (additional) actions that can be taken to help 3M are:

  • Sprinkling abate powder on the water reservoir
  • Keeping fish that eat mosquito larvae
  • Using mosquito repellent
  • Installing mosquito nets on windows and home ventilation
  • Plant  mosquito repellent plants
  • Stop the habit of hanging clothes in open spaces
  • Repairing water channels that are not smooth
  • Working together to clean up the environment

If you want to travel to a chikungunya endemic area, take the following additional precautions:

  • Using  anti-mosquito lotion  containing N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) regularly
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants all the time
  • Use mosquito nets while sleeping, especially during the day
  • Using mosquito repellent
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