How Chikungunya Affects Children and Pregnant Women

How Chikungunya Affects Children and Pregnant Women

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Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus through their bite. The name of the disease comes from the African language Makonde and means to bend in relation to the posture that patients who suffer from it usually have.

Although it is most common in Africa, Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent, it has also spread to Europe. But what are the symptoms of this disease? How does Chikungunya affect children and pregnant women?

1. Sudden onset of very high fever.

2. Very strong joint and muscle pain that sometimes prevent walking or sitting.

3. Headache.

4. Nausea.

5. Extreme tiredness.

6. Skin eruptions.

On some occasions, although it is not frequent, eye, neurological and heart problems may appear, causing major complications and even death, in very isolated cases.

People who can suffer the worst consequences if they contract chikungunya are pregnant women, infants, and young children, those over 65 and people who suffer from chronic diseases, so at the slightest suspicion of having the virus we must go to the doctor.

If a pregnant woman is infected with the chikungunya virus, she does not transmit the disease to the baby, unless it is in the days before or at the time of delivery, in which case the newborn can be infected. According to experts, the virus is not transmitted through breast milk.

Unlike dengue, which these mosquitoes also transmit, chikungunya causes higher fevers and greater joint pain, and those who have suffered it generate antibodies that protect them for life against this disease. Chikungunya often goes unnoticed or is diagnosed as a common flu, or is mistaken for dengue, although a serological test can confirm its diagnosis.

The incubation period of this disease can last between 4 and 8 days after we suffer the bite of the infected mosquito. Symptoms can last up to two weeks, although in some cases joint and muscle pain can last for several months or even years.

Actually there is no vaccine or treatment against the chikungunya virus. If we contract the disease, we can alleviate its symptoms with the following measures:

- Keep rest, since the virus makes the person feel extreme fatigue.

- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

- Take analgesics to alleviate the pain caused by the virus, especially in the joints and muscles.

- Use antipyretics to combat the high fever that causes the disease.

1. Wear long clothes that avoid skin exposure.

2. Use repellants on both skin and clothing.

3. Use mosquito nets on windows and on baby carriages and cribs.

4. Avoid colognes and perfumes that attract mosquitoes.

5. In case of being infected, it is important to isolate the person, not because they can directly transmit the virus but to avoid being bitten by another mosquito and it is infected and spreads the chikungunya by biting other people.

Cristina González Hernando. Editor of our site

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