For the past two months Delhi NCR has been riding the tsunami of two most distressing disease outbreaks i.e. Chikungunya and Dengue fever. It has given the city sleepless nights and created an atmosphere of panic thus opening floodgates of all small and large hospitals in town. By now everyone must be aware that Chikungunya is caused by a virus which harbors in ‘Aedes’ mosquito which essentially breeds in artificial containers with fresh water such as cooler tanks, flower vases, water tanks,etc..These mosquitoes rest in cool and shady areas and bite during the day. Our body responds in 2 ways. In the initial acute phase, we usually see high grade fever with chills, myalgia, arthralgia, vomiting, malaise ,and skin rash. Multiple small and medium joints may show painful swelling as in fingers, wrist, ankle, knee, shoulder and low back. In chronic phase i.e more than 3 weeks, joint pains are more pronounced due to immune mediated response. Eyes have also been seen to be affected in the form of conjunctivitis, uveitis or episcleritis, retinitis and optic neuritis wherein the white portion of the eye becomes red. This may or may not be associated with pain. In certain cases vision loss can be seen. In In initial acute phase pain may be felt at the back of the eye. All the symptoms are self-limiting and Paracetamol and certain NSAIDs can provide symptomatic relief from fever and pain. For chronic joint pains respective physicians must be consulted to discuss if there is any role of ‘disease modifying agents’. With regard to ocular symptoms, an ophthalmologist must be consulted to rule out any chances of deterioration of vision.
Clinical profile with certain diagnostic tests can help us confirm the diagnosis.
This disease is better prevented than treated. This can be achieved by vector control methods by eliminating mosquito breeding sites.
Hope this article serves answers to all common queries so far.