WHAT IS IT?
Chikungunya is a viral disease that is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which also spread dengue and Zika. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Also found in the Americas in the Caribbean. There currently have not been any locally transmitted cases reported in Georgia.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Joint Pain/ Muscle Pain
Symptoms generally begin 3 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Chikungunya usually lasts for 7 days. The joint pain is often very debilitating and can last for months. People at risk for a more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, adults older than 65 years of age, and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
HOW CAN I PREVENT CONTRACTING THIS DISEASE?
There is currently no vaccine against chikungunya infection. There is no specific antiviral treatment for chikungunya infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce fever and relieve symptoms. Ill people should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and get plenty of rest. Once infected with the virus, people are most likely protected from getting Chikungunya again.
To eliminate and control mosquitoes, prevent mosquitoes from breeding by not accumulating garbage and avoid standing water in containers.
Other methods of prevention include:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients:
- DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
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