Insane Medicine – Chikungunya Virus Gone viral – The arthritis virus in the Caribbean!

Insane Medicine -Chikungunya  Virus
Chikungunya Virus at elcetron microscope magnification levels.



Aedes mosquito on human

 

  • Chikungunya Virus was first found inTanzania in 1952. It is an RNA virus of the alphavirus genus and the Togaviridae family.
  • It is primarily found in Western Africa, similiar to where ebola is currently found this year. It is endemic in West Africa, but in 2103, it was found in the Caribbean, including St. Martin and Puerto Rico. Two mosquitos,  Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (African tiger mosquito) are the mosquito vectors for the disease. The Aedes albopictus mosquito can carry Yellow fever and Dengue fever as well as Chikungya.
  • The virus causes crippling arthralgias  and fever. The illness can result in a rash. It lasts for several months, with the arthritis pain being prolonged and severe. Hence, the name Chikungunya, which in Tanzania means ”stooped over.’
  • The initial fever lasts 7-10 days and there may be swelling if the fingers and toes. In severe cases, a person can get an inflamed heart muscle, known as myocarditis and kidney failure.
  • Similar viruses include O’nyong-Onong (Central Africa), Baima-Ross River virus, Semili Virus, Mayaro virus (South America), and the Sindbis group virus. All of them cause severe arthritis.
  • Treatment – supportive care only, Fluids and pain management are cornerstone to treatment. There is no vaccine currently available. The best treatment is prevention – prevent mosquito bites by wearing  long clothes and lots of bug spray! If you are traveling to the Carribbean, be certain to wear bug spray to prevent infection.

http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/geo/index.html

 

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