Chikungunya science

In case you didn't know about it, there is an outbreak of Chikungunya in Mauritius. It caused problems during this same period of time, last year and caught the eye of many people but now it's back. And it's creating panic to a certain extent, not just here in Mauritius but also in Reunion Island (20% of the population caught the disease last year), the Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte and even in the southern parts of India.


Aedes Aegypti

Chikungunya, which means “that which bends up” in Swahili was first described in Tanzania in 1952. It is caused by a virus and is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito – recognisable by its distinct white patches. The Chikungunya virus is transmitted by vector propagation. It should be noted that human transition is not possible and a person who is infected with the virus is not contagious.

The symptoms of the disease usually appear after 4 to 7 days after having been bitten by the Aedes Aegypti. It's only then that the frightening things happen. High fever that can go up to 39oC is achieved and some skin rashes appear on the skin. Afterwards, the infected person suffers from muscular and joints pain. In acute cases, the patient finds himself in the incapability to walk or even talk. Although death follows in extreme cases only, some 150 people succumbed to the disease in Reunion Island according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Unfortunately there exists no treatment for Chikungunya yet. There are no vaccines nor any treatments but only painkillers and some Paracetamol for the fever. In order to prevent the propagation of the virus, it is thus logical to prevent proliferation of its vector: Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

Photo courtesy: Univers Nature

Update: This blog entry makes my latest column for Not Scientific Science at backwash.

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32 Responses to “Chikungunya science”


  1. 1 Abhijeet 16 June, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    Hi!
    i am from a small village in maharastra, india. there has been an epidemic of chickun gunya in our area. most patients recoverd but a few still have arthritis,arthalgia, malaise, etc. is it a self limiting disease or can lead to chronic debility? what is the treatment for arthritis? is it self limiting or has chronic sequelae? can it b controlled/cured/

  2. 2 Raj 20 July, 2006 at 5:50 am

    Hi:

    If a person is infected with ChickenGunya and cured, is the virus still active in the person? That is what is the time period after which the virus stops spreading from a person to person through mosquitos.

    Thanks,
    Raj.

  3. 3 Khalil A. 21 July, 2006 at 9:27 am

    Hello there – Well this about Chikungunya is that it is caused by a virus. However once, you’re cured, then it means that the virus is no longer in your system, as simple as that. However, one does not become immune to the virus and it may well infect the same person again in the future.

  4. 4 Dr AV Subbarao 5 August, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    There is an epidemic of Chikungunya in Andhra Pradesh, India. Lot of patients are affected, upto 40% of population in some areas including children, adults and the elderly.
    While benign in the children, the infection is causing longstanding disability in adults and esp in the elderly.
    I want to know the life cycle of Aedes egypti. Any way to control the deadly vector? And does any other vector transmit Chikungunya?

  5. 5 Jas 20 August, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    Re arthritis in Chikungunya patients: Will a blood test show abnormally high (some 300% higher) RA (rheumatoid arthritis) factor in a person suffering from the disease? Wish somebody would clear my doubt.

  6. 6 Dr. C. E. Andruskewicz MA [Ohio] 8 September, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Folks –
    …I have lived in Mauritius for the last 2 months, killed hundreds of mosquitoes, spoke at length to the “Association des Hoteliers et Restauranteurs – Ile Maurice” about the “Action” Plan that the Singapore Public Health Team has ‘perscribed’ here for education and clean-up of garbage. Only ONE thing is lacking : ACTION ! Nothing but nuthin’ has been done by the Ministry. Yet today I have been told [again] that the “reason” that ‘chik’ is here is, are you ready, the INFECTED TOURISTS. I will again ‘advise’ the Big Boys here that soon their ‘problem’ of “Infected” tourists will be solved. Soon. Very soon.

  7. 7 Prabhakar 9 September, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    there is an epidemic of CHIK in AP right now.Steroids as a treatment for the arthritis is being extensively used .will some one help me in clearing lmy doubts regarding the use of corticosteroids in CHIK>

  8. 8 Dr.R.T.Suresh Kumar.MD 30 September, 2006 at 10:29 pm

    Khalil A. Says:
    July 21st, 2006 at 9:27 am

    Hello there – Well this about Chikungunya is that it is caused by a virus. However once, you’re cured, then it means that the virus is no longer in your system, as simple as that. However, one does not become immune to the virus and it may well infect the same person again in the future.

    CHIKV infection (whether clinical or silent) is thought to confer life-long immunity

    Source:The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA.

  9. 9 N. Dashora 1 October, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    Dear Dr.
    I am a Space Physics PhD student.
    Kindly tell me that will a patient infected by Chikungunya show a increased RA factor 200-300% during the term of desease(1-15 days).
    If yes then how to differentiate between the symptoms of R. Arthritis (RA) and Chikungunya.

    Reply soon

  10. 10 Khalil A. 2 October, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    Hey N.

    Well, let me first tell you than I’m definetely not an expert on the matter. However if you want more info about the topic, you might want to check Tara C. Smith. She is an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology and I’m sure she’ll be more than likely to help you out with any questions.

  11. 11 deena 24 October, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    You can find some homeopathic medicines and home remedies for chikungunya listed at http://ailments.in/chikungunya.html

  12. 12 peter 4 December, 2006 at 7:32 am

    This is a very informative blog about The Chikungunya Virus. The Chikungunya Virus it is a very lethal treat for most people in the world. Thanks for all the information.

  13. 13 POPO 10 December, 2006 at 9:11 am

    HAI SUBRAO,
    I AM BIOSCIENCE STUDENT FROM LONDON,FOR LIFE CYCLE OF A.E YOU SIMPLE TRY ON GOOGLE WITH SCINTY NAME OF ITEM WITH WORD LIFECYCLE.U WILL GET A LOT OF HITS………BY HOPE IT WILL HELP U
    I AM DOING THAT KNOW

  14. 14 Dr.Prabha Adhikari 6 May, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Dear prabhakar and dashora,
    Chikungunya arthritis can lead to reactive arthritis mimicking rhematoid arthritis.there is a report from Platoria decribing arhtritis following chikungunay with low Rheumatoid titres.Chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine 200mg for 6-12 weeks is the drug of choice and response to therapy is too rapid unlike Rheumatoid arthritis where it takes a minimum of 8weeks.I have treated 3 such cases and response to treatment was seen in just 2 days.Although steroids also produce dramatic improvement, its use could be risky in early chikungunya when the patient may have haemorrhagic gastririts and several deaths hve occured due to indescriminate use of NDSAIDS And steroids
    Prabha

  15. 15 Roger 8 July, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    I was infected with Chikungunya last November. Still I am unable to walk as I have a severe pain in mi joints. I have consulted experts inorder to find a solution but up to now faild. I am 27 old but now live like a 70 year old witout being able to move about. Tests done have faild to show any indication up to now but the pain and skin rashes apear from time to time. Rashes (Itchy) espeasially on figer tip area and redish isolated individual blisters apear in other areas. The pian is mostly in the legs below the knees. How ever if excercised or rest is broken pain moves to any other joint in the body. Hope somebody will find a cure soon.

  16. 16 Prakash Kumar B 25 July, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    I would like to know wether there are incidences of chikungunya which has ultimately led to the development of auto immune diseases

  17. 17 Sonia 3 November, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    I had Chikungunya 10 months ago. Now I am suffering from severe joint pain. When bent the joints make a alrming crushing sound. A burning like pain associated with bones closer to muscles persist and moves from place to place whe treated. When the pain reaches intestines constipation takes place. Some times passing urine becomes slightly difficult. Rash is common. There is a slight humming heard inside the head throughout. Tests do not reveal anything.

  18. 18 Ganesh 3 November, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    I had Chikengunea 1 year ago. I have most of the symptoms described. IT SEEMS LIKE there is something like a residue left behind by the Chikungunea virus which is traped in the body degenerating bones and joints. The body identifies the left behind residue as an alien substance and fights to throw out in all possible ways continuouesly resulting in rash, frequent need to pass bowels etc. The doctors prescribe medicine for allergy when mis-identified. The cause lies some where else. The urine samples show calsifiaction sometimes resulting in blocking urine passages in males.

  19. 19 chirag 7 March, 2008 at 10:21 am

    hello sir,
    i m msc(medicine medical laboratory technology)student,studying in anand…
    i m mdoing dessertation on chikengunia arthritis….
    so i need information of chikengunia arthritis for mi project work complition….because i hav lack of information so…..
    and i am not going to publish mi data…i just want it for mi knowledge,to achieve mi viva exam about mi project….
    thank….send me information as sun as possible….if u can….
    hope u will give favour….
    thanking you………………

  20. 20 John Kelley 22 June, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Is it possible to be misdiagnosed with lyme Disease

  21. 21 John Kelley 22 June, 2008 at 12:21 am

    I have been amazed at what this disease represents its exactly what I have been going through

  22. 22 John Kelley 22 June, 2008 at 12:24 am

    I also have little tiny blisters around my wrist I tear them off sometimes with my fingernail but they came back

  23. 23 dr.siddarth 3 October, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    how does steroids help in re leaving arthalgia caused by chickengunya?

  24. 24 Rana Chakrabarti 19 October, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    As Kolkata W.B. India faces fresh cases of Chikungunia in Oct 2008 can we activate this site for exchange of ideas/ updates.
    Since these days doctors depend on Pathological reports
    Can U all fwd what u mean by following 3?
    A. Chikungunia Antigen – POSITIVE.
    B. Chikungunia IgM – POSITIVE
    C. Chikungunia IgG – POSITIVE
    In an individual took test on 3rd day of fever with/ without joint pain but definitely no rash.

  25. 25 Prasad 27 December, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    I had chikunguniya in 2006, but now every winter i have joint pain, swiling, etc. i cannot walk in winters or walk with support
    pleace if any one knows what to do please help me

  26. 26 Tchalam 26 February, 2012 at 1:05 am

    I had the infection CHICV in 2006 with maculopapular rashes multiple joints involvement incapacitating ,pedal and hands edema and oculopathy . I could beryl from bed only by rolling over ,raise myself from a chair by leveraging with shoulders and elbows ,unable to bend down to touch my knees ,walk like a robot as both knees were stiff and both the hip joints were swollen and excruciating . Whenever I developed an URI or an LRI ,the arthralgia became worsened . Changing the stick even in an automatic car was excruciatingly painful . This state of affairs persisted for 31/2years but the severity of the arthralgia was slowly reducing .It had been almost 6 years now from the point of first affliction ; the arthralgia do recur almost once in 10 days and persist for 4-5 days . Recurrence of artragia precede any mild febrile illness like an URI by 2-3 days . The MCP and proximal IPL joints and both the hip joints are still very painful rendering me unable to lie on my sides . I have been very active both physically and mentally and when the arthralgia subside to some degree ,I walk for 2 hours a day and do all the chores .

    My CRP remains at 30 (0.6 – 1.2. Being the lab normal ). since 6 years .I had had choloroquine and steroids for 7 days initially.

  27. 27 lakshmi 14 June, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Hi friends,

    Its amazing to read about how c,gunya can create havoc in the lives of people who are active and optimistic. I myself am a victim of chikungunya in 2006 when i was 45, eversince then my life changed. for two years i was in a denial phase.. and then doctors confirmed rhumatoid arthiritis and was advised methotrixate for life which caused a lot of acidity in my body. when i stop taking methotrixate pains flare up. my nights are hellish . i have lost all my energy. still i am hopeful that some miracle can happen in the form of relief. i joined nature cure center where they advised me to eat lots of fruits and veggies . exercising and keeping hands and legs in warm water with epsum salt can help..

    lakshmi

  28. 28 R S Gupta 27 June, 2012 at 10:17 am

    PAIN GONE IN 1N HOUR

    A lady aged 60 years – Gulmohar Park New Delhi was suffering from Pain for the last over a year. Doctors suggested that there is no treatment with them and it may subside at its own in two to three years time.
    She came to me for Energy healing and in an hour’s time the Pain gone. When I talked to her after about 3 months of the Energy healing, she said that she is quite O.K. and so no reversal.
    She was given energy healing in her Pituitary Gland in the Brain and also the effected parts of the body through a Distant with the help of the Dowsers.
    1. Her Video is available on You tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wjnvK_jDrg&feature=relmfu

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