Tweets from the official account of the World Health Organization (WHO) have been flooding my Twitter timeline. A particular topic caught my interest. Tweets about a disease called ‘Chikungunya’ were difficult to ignore. Maybe it’s the name, quite funny, chikungunya , couldn’t help laughing. Sounds like something from Naruto. When I saw a tweet that said it was transmitted by mosquito bites, I got even more interested. Mosquito is a vector we Africans, Nigerians know very well, in fact, Chief Amos Quito na our padi. Who never get malaria before? Walk into any hospital and half the patients are being treated for malaria, another mosquito transmitted pathology.
So curiosity got the better of me, and I did a little research on this disease. With reliable information (avoid hoaxes, trust only reliable sources) sourced from the WHO and the CDC USA, I was able to come up with an article on this interesting disease.
Is it reported in Nigeria? Yes, it’s prevalent in Africa and Asia, and the vector, the Aedes mosquito (the same mofo that causes Yellow Fever) is found in Nigeria. At the moment however, there is no chikungunya outbreak in the country. We’re safe then? Quite safe but be on the watch out for it until it (and malaria) is completely eradicated (one of my goals in the medical line).
How is it transmitted?
It’s transmission is very similar to that of the malaria pathogen. Humans are infected through by the bites of infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes themselves get the virus from infected humans. The genus of mosquito that transmits the virus is the Aedes spp. The two species are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Aedes aegypti is the principal vector and is also the specie responsible for Yellow Fever (this guy bad o). It breeds in household containers and bites aggressively during the day.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The name Chikungunya is not a Naruto character, it’s not even Japanese. It’s a Mozambican term that translates to “bending up”. This is because of the symptoms which include enfeebling illness, most often characterized by fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash, and joint pain.
The symptoms usually lasts a few days to a week though there may prolonged fatigue in some cases. Sometimes, it is characterized by an excruciating pain in the joints or arthritis which are long lasting.
The period between infection to manifestation of symptoms (em…incubation period) lasts about a week or more or less.
Treatment for chikungunya?
Currently, there is no particular antiviral remedy available for the chikungunya fever. Treatment is usually based on the specific symptom. Fluids and drugs are given to alleviate symptoms of fever and pain. They include drugs like paracetamol,ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen. Aspirin should be avoided. Infected persons should be protected from mosquito bites to prevent further transmission.
Obviously, the best way to prevent Chikungunya is to prevent mosquito bites. The is also the best way of preventing diseases caused by mosquito (yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever, elephantiasis etc) and other insect vectors (blackfly…em…I no sabi Zly 101 oh!). There are no vaccines or preventive drugs currently available for the virus.
Ways of preventing mosquito bites include:
*Using insecticide treated mosquito nets
*Using insecticides (the ones Wey dey work) to kill the vector.
*Preventing the vector from breeding by clearing away potential breeding sites. Clear grasses around the house, avoid stagnant water, like my mom always says, turn containers and buckets upside down when not in use, pour oil on stagnant water to suffocate the larva, etc.
*Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 on exposed skin. Always follow the directions on the package.
•Wear long sleeves and pants (ideally treat clothes with permethrin or another repellent).
•Have secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
So that’s it on Chikungunya. I’m thinking of which of my classmates this nickname will suit, maybe Dansan or Ksee or Samad…lol.
My last take
How soon would diseases like Chikungunya, malaria, etc be eradicated from Nigeria and Africa? Such diseases were present in America and Europe but were successfully eradicated. This was as a result of proper public education, health education, public sensitization programs and projects like Healthy People 2000, aimed at promoting health among individuals and groups.
Can we achieve such in Nigeria? Yes is my answer, don’t know about you. With you and I, the future generation of medical and medical allied practitioners, as well as people who desire a healthy living, coming together, to share ideas and information. With #MEdIGIST, with our #knowledge_empowers and #towards a healthier you programs, with your support and contributions, Yes we can achieve a healthier person, nation and world.
Support Medigist Today. Thanks to all who have supported us in one way or the other. Compliments!
Was this article helpful? Share with a friend and drop a comment. Remember, knowledge empowers!
Don’t forget to like our Facebook page: Medigist: The med blog, towards a healthier you.
Follow on twitter: @clemency_green
Tweet at us with the #medigist and show your support by adding it to your bio.
Questions, comments, suggestions? Comment below.