Chikungunya is gaining a bad reputation for its debilitating effects. The disease was previously localized in Africa and Asia but has spread to the Caribbean and now in South and North America.
This is a viral infection that cause joint pain and fever that can spread from one individual to another via mosquito bites. The name “chikungunya” is in Makonde language in Tanzania in which it was initially identified back in the 1950s. The name refers to how an infected individual appears – being hobbled over by the joint pain.
How chikungunya spreads
The infection spreads via a bite from a female mosquito specifically Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus. The bite should occur after the mosquito has bitten an individual infected by chikungunya.
Remember that the mosquitos can bite all day long, though more likely at dusk. They can frequently bite indoors as well and even bite year-round in areas with warm climates. The mosquitoes breed in standing or stagnant water such as in tires, buckets and toilets.
An infected mother can also pass the condition to the child at birth. Nevertheless, pregnancies are usually healthy if the infection occurs well before birth. Additionally, the infection can also spread via blood transfusions.
How some types spread faster?
It is sad to note that some strains in other countries spreads more rapidly than others. It has been reported that 3 strains have mutated which allows the Aedes albopictus mosquito to spread chikungunya rapidly.
The best way to prevent the condition is to avoid mosquito bites. Spending vacations in areas prone to mosquitoes with chikungunya can put anyone at risk. In such cases, it is vital to prevent mosquito bites and breeding.
The mosquitos can breed in any containers that has standing water. With this in mind, do not allow water to stay stagnant in buckets or tires. It is also vital to wear long sleeves and pants to avoid the bites. Additionally, utilize an insect repellant such as those that contain DEET and use screens in doors and windows if possible.
Those who are febrile and in the initial weeks of being infected might want to rest with a mosquito net in bed during the day to avoid mosquito bites from spreading the infection to others.