Chikungunya fever has been a cause of concern in the recent months following its emergency in Mandela East Sub County early this year. More than five hundred people were hospitalized with Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) confirming 7 out of 10 samples collected in the region. The outbreak spread an immense alarm among Kenyans and uncertainty about the disease and its spread. The article describes the virus, its spread, symptoms, prevention and its treatment.
Chikungunya virus primarily spread through an Aedes mosquito bite, the type of mosquito that is also known for spreading dengue and Zika viruses. The disease is not very uncommon in Kenya since its last outbreak occurred in the year 2004 at Lamu and Mombasa region where more than 13000 cases were reported. The disease, which many thought was malaria, was then controlled. Chikungunya virus, which was initially, the disease of Africa and Asia, has progressively spread to both the Americas and most of Europe.
The symptoms appear 3-7 days after a mosquito bite. The Common symptoms of Chikungunya virus include; sudden fever, severe joint pain, joint swelling and muscle pain. A patient Chikungunya-infected patient may also experience a headache, nausea and sometimes skin rashes. Although the joint pains can sometimes prolong, there are patients may show no signs of the infection. The disease, however, cause no death, but prolonged wrist, ankle and other joint pains cause severe discomfort to its victims.
The fever treatment is limited to supportive care where such as rest and fluids. It is, however, imperative to seek medical help when you discover the infection. Since the infection occurs primarily through a mosquito bite, the prime intervention is preventing a mosquito bite. The Aedes mosquito breeds in artificial water reservoirs such as small containers.
Preventing chikungunya fever, therefore, requires one to explain all mosquito-breeding site by draining the standing waters on a flowerpot, buckets, and containers. Using mosquito repellent will also control the fever. The commonly used bed nets are however not very practical since the insect bite outdoor during the day. Draining of artificial water reservoirs is, however, the most effective eradication of Aedes mosquito.