Chikunguniya - Indian Scenario, Causes, Symptoms and Preventive Measures

Kerala is under Chikunguniya threat every year during monsoon season. Chikunguniya spreads in Kerala very fast. It is a viral fever transmitted by mosquito bite. 'Alpha virus' under 'Non Flavo' genus is the cause of Chikunguniya. It will not be transmitted from person to person in any means other than mosquito bite.

Chikunguniya Origin

Chikunguniya was first found in Tanzania in Africa. The disease derives its name from a kind of bamboo found in this area named 'Chikunguniya'. Chikunguniya Bamboo will bent when there is wind. The patient affected with Chikunguniya cannot stand straight due to joint pain. From Tanzania, Chikunguniya spread to Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Mauritius, Pakistan, Srilanka and India. Chikunguniya in IndiaChikunguniya was found in India in 1963. Calcutta was the affected area where over 1lakh people were affected with Chikunguniya. In 1973, Maharashtra also had Chikunguniya attack. Then after a gap of 32 years, in 2005, India was again affected with Chikunguniya virus. It started off in Maharashtra in December 2005 and spread to all nearby states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. About 30 lakh people were affected with fever in these states.

Death due to Chikunguniya

WHO (World Health Organisation) is on a stand that Chikunguniya cannot be a reason for death. But in Kerala many people died because of fever in 2006 and 2007. But in the other south Indian states, no death was reported due to Chikunguniya. Now the Health Department in Kerala is now under the conclusion that older people and patients with other illness can die because of Chikunguniya. Later, younger people without any other diseases and unborn babies also died due to fever. So the Health department of Kerala couldn't control the disease.

Symptoms of Chikunguniya

High fever, joint pain, joint swellings, head ache, shivering, loss of ppetite, vomiting and rashes on the skin are the major symptoms of Chikunguniya fever. The symptoms will appear within 3-4 days after the mosquito bite. Fever will remain for 7-20 days. Joint pain will be there for a much longer time. There are two types of joint pains. The pain under the 'Althragia' category will not be very intense. But the 'Arthritis' category pain will be more intense and will remain for a long time with joint swellings also. No VaccinesThere are no particular drug for Chikunguniya. Paracetamol is used for controlling body temperatures and to reduce pain. I.V fluid is given in order to retain the fluid content in the body.

Chikunguniya causing mosquito

'Aedes Egypti' mosquito under the Aedes genus causes Chikunguniya. This same mosquito causes the dengue fever. It has black body with white lines nd is called Tiger mosquito. This type of mosquito is found common in Kerala. These mosquitoes bite during day time. Aedes Egypti mosquito breeds in fresh water. They lay eggs in unused water tanks, wells, water stored in plastic bags and utensils.

Preventing Chikunguniya

The first and foremost thing to remember while trying to prevent Chikunguniya is avoiding mosquito bite. Mosquitoes should be destroyed. Water storage utensils should kept closed. Use of mosquito repellent creams and mosquito nets also can help to some extent in avoiding mosquito bite. Waste materials in and around the house should be cleaned at least once a week.