Tuesday January 31, 2017
What Is Chikungunya Virus?
There has been a lot of press about Zika Virus, but did you know that the same mosquitoes that carry Zika, can also carry Chikungunya?
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne disease transmitted through the bites of infected female Aedes Aegypti or Aedes Albopictus mosquitoes. It is common in the Caribbean and is most prevalent after the rainy season when mosquitoes breed actively.
It is found in over 60 countries including the USA, South America, Africa, Asia and some European countries. Before travel, always look for travel health information for the destination you are going to. See the Your Trip Planner.
What Are the Symptoms?
The virus has an onset period of about 3-7 days after contraction. Although rarely deadly, unless there are serious complications, Chikungunya can cause debilitating joint pain and fever. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headaches, nausea, rash and fatigue. For most, symptoms clear up in a week, but that could mean you are ill for your entire week’s holiday! Some people can have serious joint pain for years following contraction.
Be aware, there is no cure, vaccine or specific treatment for Chikungunya. Treatment is simply focused on relieving pain.
How Can I Avoid Chikungunya?
The best way to stay virus free is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Don’t risk getting bitten! Spray mosquito repellent onto any exposed skin during the day, use a mosquito net at night and wear Mosi-Off bands. Other tips include closing all doors and windows once inside, using air conditioning and wearing long-sleeved clothing. Also, you may want to treat outdoor equipment with a Fabric Spray, such as tents and backpacks.
If you don’t take precautions and do get Chikungunya, make sure you visit your GP if you are still experiencing symptoms when you get home.