The chikungunya is categorized as an alphavirus infection with symptoms that generally develop 3-7 days after a bite but can occur in 1-12 days. In most cases, those who are infected develop symptoms. As for dengue and other viruses, most or even half do not develop any symptoms at all.
In most cases, there is abrupt sudden fever and joint pain. It is important to note that the pain often occurs in the fingers and toe joints that feels similar to broken bones. The pain typically affects the ankles, knees and lower back as well as areas where previous injuries occur.
The severe fatigue along with insomnia and muscle aches are also common. Many find it hard to get out of bed for days and others end up with swollen lymph nodes, rash and nausea. In rare circumstances, the individual might have eye irritation, mouth ulcers or even difficulty breathing and confusion.
How long chikungunya lasts?
Most of the symptoms resolve within days or 1-2 weeks especially for those who are younger. The fever typically lasts 2-3 days and abruptly ends. Those who are younger are likely to have short illnesses.
In some, the condition lasts longer along with persistent or recurrent symptoms particularly joint pain that lasts for months or even years. The persistent cases are quite common among older individuals even over 35-40 years old. In most cases involving older adults, most have symptoms that last more than a year. As for those who have severe initial symptoms, they are likely to have persistent symptoms.
A diagnosis is based on the indications during an epidemic that frequently spreads abruptly. Nevertheless, other conditions including dengue can be wrongly identified as chikungunya.
The PCR and antibody testing is used to identify the chikungunya virus. If the laboratory values reveal a low platelet count, it usually raises the suspicion for dengue rather than chikungunya.
Even today, there is no specific treatment for chikungunya. An individual with the condition is advised to rest, maintain proper hydration and managing the fever and pain using naproxen, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
The indications of other conditions such as malaria or dengue that require treatment can be mistaken for chikungunya. With this in mind, it is vital to seek medical care.