Chikungunya: Important Topics for UPSC Exams
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral illness which spreads through mosquito
bites and fever and joint pain are its most common symptoms. Other symptoms may
comprise a headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
- Symptoms similar to Dengue and Zika.
- First outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952
- Caused by female mosquitos Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti (also
causes Zika and Dengue).
- Mosquitos mainly bite during the day.
- Even animals may get infected by the virus including birds and rodents.
- Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent is the preferred location for
such diseases because of moist and humid climate favouring the mosquitos.
- However, in the recent decades, these mosquito vectors of chikungunya
have spread into Europe and the Americas.
- For Example: In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first
time in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy. Outbreaks have since
been recorded in France and Croatia.
- It has been identified in more than 60 countries across the world (Asia,
Africa, Europe and the Americas).
Diagnosis and Tests
- IgM titers- a method of measuring the concentration of antibodies in the
- RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) is also used.
- Repeated blood test and constant watch is kept on the blood count. If it
drops, it is better to be under medical observation. At this stage, the
doctors’ guidance is crucial.
- No vaccine yet in the market for chikungunya.
- Only symptomatic treatment – such as giving painkillers to relieve the
joint pain – using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which are not
- The patient is advised to take fluids.
- Some people argue about herbal treatment as better than allopathic
however no verified study available.