Chikungunya, Recent Concern for Us

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Mosquito-borne viral disease, chikungunya has been re-emerged recently. In 1952, first description about this disease had been found in southern Tanzania. After a long period, it was witnessed again in northeastern Italy in 2007. Since then, these disease has been re-emerged in this century. Recently, Bangladesh has been affected as it is considered a tropical disease. It is thought that it has re-emerged for the viral mutation. Moreover, in the present world, tourism from one country to another has been increased. Thus, this disease gets opportunity to spread and it has already been the major concern for us.

Chikungunya disease has been occurred for virus named “Chikungunya“ which is a single stranded RNA virus transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Two spices of mosquitoes, Aedesaegypti and Aedesalbopictus are responsible for both dengue and chikungunya. But when mosquito feed on already chikungunya infected person, that mosquito has also been infected with this virus. After that, this mosquito can be able to spread the virus by biting a healthy man. It is relief of us that unlike dengue, these viruses don`t cause any death but people in which body have been developed by such kind of virus, suffer painful conditions in the body. In 95% conditions, chikungunya is symptomatic. The common symptoms are joint aches and pains, whereas the others are fiver, depression, rash, eye pain, headache etc.Sometimes, people can be confused about the symptoms seen between dengue and chikungunya. Unlike dengue, rashes are seen on trunk, limbs, face, palms and feet. Moreover, joint pains on hands and feet are also considered as symptoms of chikungunya, whereas muscle pain on the back, arms and legs are the main symptoms of dengue. But the concern for us is that chikungunya is also asymptomatic in 5% conditions. That`s why, it is sometimes very difficult to identify whether this virus grows in the body or not. Although complications of this disease are rare, this virus can cause inflammation of the retina, heart muscle, liver, kidneys, spinal cord, membranes of the brain and adjoining cerebral tissue and also cause bleeding.

There are two types of risk factor of chikungunya, physical and environmental. A research shows that older adults, children under the age of one, pregnant women, people in whom diseases pre-exist have a higher risk of infecting the disease. In addition, the environmental risk factor is exposure of mosquito. Monsoon is the season of spreading this disease as mosquitoes grow up rapidly and increasingly in this season. So, it can bring devastating result on people living in chikungunya prevalent area. For being chikungunya a tropical disease, Bangladesh is also at risk. This disease has already been discovered in Dhaka, Dohar and Nababganj, Rajshahi, Pabna and also in shibganj of Chapainababganj. As it has short case series, this type of fever is common in Bangladesh. But the fact is that awareness about this virus has not built up yet among the people. So, it is evident that chikungunya is concern for us.

Chikungunya fever can be diagnosed by virus isolation, collection of blood samples for serology and so on. But the commonly used test is the Immunoglobulin M antibody ( IgM) test. Chikungunya infected people should take rest. Moreover, infected one should drink water to prevent dehydration. Besides this, for reducing fever and pain, acetaminophen or paracetamol can be taken as medicine. At present, there is no vaccine for prevention or medicine for treatment, however, there has been tried to develop a working vaccine for chikungunya which will produce antibodies against the virus. As vaccines against chikungunya virus are not introduced yet, so reducing the risk of getting bitten by mosquito is the best policy of preventing the disease for us. That`s why, collection of standing water should be avoided. Moreover, insect repellants containing deet, picaridin on skin for protection from mosquitoes must be applied when anyone goes in mosquitoes prevalent areas. At last, the most important thing is that everyone should be aware of this disease which will help us to prevent chikungunya.

Md. Marufur Rahman Moni, is an undergrad student completing his graduation under dept. of pharmacy East West University, Bangladesh. He can be reached at moni007.mrm@yahoo.com

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