1. What is Chikungunya?
Chikungunya is an acute febrile infectious condition transmitted to humans by the bite of specific mosquitoes.This disease was first detected in 1953 in Tanzania. Since then it has emerged as one of the main causes of disease outbreaks among human populations in African and Asian countries and of late affecting several locations in Europe. It is currently endemic in most countries in the Sub Saharan region in Africa, India, South East Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. This is not an unknown mysterious disease.
2. What is the causing agent?
Chikungunya is a febrile illness caused by a virus from the genus Alphavirus in the Togaviridae family.
3. Is the disease infectious ?
Yes. The Chikungunya virus spreads through the bite of an Aedes albopictus or Aedes aegypti mosquito infected with the virus. The Aedes mosquito also transmits the dengue virus.
4. What is the incubation period for Chikungunya ?
The incubation period for Chikungunya can range from 3 to 12 days but usually it is about 3 to 7 days.
5. What are its signs and symptoms?
The usual symptoms include:
· Sudden high fever
· Severe joint pains
· Redness with rashes occurring on the body
The fever can occur for a period ranging from 1 to 7 days (usually about 5 days). Chikungunya is commonly mistaken for Dengue Fever due their similar clinical symptoms.
6. Can it cause death?
In Malaysia, Chikungunya has never been reported as causing haemorrhage (bleeding) or death. However, some patients experience prolonged symptoms. Aged patients could suffer from recurrent joint aches ranging from several months to a year.
7. What is the treatment for this disease?
As in other viral infections there is no specific treatment for Chikungunya infection. Usually, it is treated symptomatically (treatment for specific symptoms as experienced by the patient). Most patients need only outpatient treatment. There is no vaccine available to prevent this disease.
8. What you need to do if you are infected
If you experience signs and symptoms of Chikungunya infection, please seek immediate medical advice from the nearest clinic or hospital.
9. Prevention· Keep your house and surrounding clean, free from Aedes mosquito breeding. This can be done through community-based activities, gotong-royong. There is evidence of no new case reported in areas where gotong-royong is carried out.
· Check your house and surrounding at least once a week to ensure no Aedes breeding.
· Seek immediate medical attention from the nearest clinic or hospital if you experience signs and symptoms of Chikungunya.
10. Can my area be affected?
Possible, due to the wide spread presents of this disease vectors (mosquitoes), namely Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in this country.