Chikungunya Alert

India’s southern states are on an alert for Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, of which Bangalore has no dearth. According to reports, an estimated 1.5 Lakh people are already infected by it. Maharashtra’s southern districts, Andhra Pradesh’s eastern districts and many parts of Karnataka are already under the grip of this disease. Now, the epidemic is showing up in new places in Orissa and Tamil Nadu. Infact, since early 2006, the disease has been affecting many islands in the Indian Ocean.

What is chikungunya afterall?
Chikungunya is a rare viral disease caused by “aedes aegypti” mosquito. This mosquito bites only during the daytime (Interesting!). The name comes from a Makonde description to mean “cause to bend down”. A person infected with this disease would experience crippling pain in the joints that would cause them to bend down to feel more comfortable. This disease is also characterised by high fever, development of rash in the limb areas and in the upper torso. Occasionally, it is also acccompanied by photophobia (which is fear of light, here it means sensitivity to light), conjunctival infection and bad headaches. This disease lasts for about a week or so, and complete treatment takes about 2 to 2.5 weeks.

It is advisable for you to take precautionary measures against contracting the disease. The disease is not contagious. You need to follow the symptoms carefully and immediately get it to your nearest physician’s attention. Medication and rest are the most commonly advocated treatment prescribed.

2 Comments so far

  1. SF_Mark (unregistered) on June 1st, 2006 @ 5:38 am

    You say “Take precautions,” but you don’t say what precautions are recommended. I’m visiting Bangalore in a couple of months — any suggestions for keeping mosquitoes of any kind from biting?

  2. rubic_cube (unregistered) on June 1st, 2006 @ 11:14 am

    @ Mark:
    Some of the precautions that you may want to consider would be the following:
    1. Do not visit any shady or ill-lit places during the day time.
    2. Ensure that you are dressed such that no portion of your legs are exposed. You may however choose to wear a half-sleeve which does not seriously impact your risk.
    3. If you are staying at a rented accomodation or a hotel, then just take a note of any presence of mosquitoes. If present, insist with the resident manager or any person who takes care of your services to provide you with a mosquito repellant. You do not have to put on any ointment. There are 2 electrical options, one that uses a mat and one that uses a liquid repellant tank. Either of them will suit your purpose.
    4. Ensure that your clothes are not heavily scented or do not use heavy fragrances. Use light, non-floral fragrances. Mosquitoes do get attracted to floral fragrances, and results in uninvited trouble.

    You may also refer the hyperlink provided in the article. It may suggest some other remedial measures. You may also search internet for any special advisories which usually contain the information that you are seeking.

    Hope you have a memorable trip to India.

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