Joint pain is reported in 87–98% of cases, and nearly always occurs in
more than one joint including peripheral joints such as the wrists,
ankles and joints of the hands and feet as well as shoulders, elbows and
knees. Joints are more likely to be affected if they have previously been
damaged by disorders such as Arthritis. Pain may also occur in the
muscles or ligaments.
Chikungunya may also cause long-term symptoms following acute
infection. This condition has been termed as chronic Chikungunya
virus-induced arthralgia. Common predictors of prolonged symptoms
are increased age and prior rheumatological disease.
Serological tests, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays
(ELISA), may confirm the presence of IgM and IgG anti-Chikungunya
antibodies. IgM antibody levels are highest 3 to 5 weeks after the onset
of illness and persists for about 2 months. Samples collected during the
first week after the onset of symptoms should be tested by both
serological and virological methods (RT-PCR). The virus may be
isolated from the blood during the first few days of infection.
There is no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya.
Treatment is directed primarily at relieving the symptoms, including
joint pains using antipyretics such as Paracetamol / Acetaminophen
and fluids. There is no commercial Chikungunya vaccine available as
PREVENTION AND CONTROL
Best means of prevention is overall mosquito control and avoidance of
mosquito bites in areas where the disease is common. This may be
partly achieved with the use of mosquito nets, mosquito coils and
vapourisers. Appropriate clothing for minimising skin exposure to the
day-biting vectors is also advised. Repellents can be applied to exposed
skin or to clothing in strict accordance with product label instructions.
For those who sleep during the daytime, particularly young children,
sick or older people, insecticide-treated mosquito nets offer good
Dr. R. K. Singal
Principal Consultant &
Director and Coordinator of
Medical & Allied Services
BLK Super Speciality Hospital
“The safest way to prevent
Chikungunya is to prevent
mosquito bites and its spread.
Preventing bites can be difficult,
but it is important, as you can
get sick after just one bite.
Precautionary measures such as
use of good quality mosquito
repellents, mosquito nets and
wearing full sleeves clothes to
keep the body covered is highly
recommended. Avoid travelling
to places where the incidence is
high unless extremely necessary.
Treatment usually is for the
symptoms and include taking
sufficient rest, taking more
fluids, easily digestible food and
medicines to relieve pain.”