The Chikungunya Virus: What Is It?

Health officials in Pitt County announced Friday that a person has been diagnosed with the chikungunya virus. This is the eighteenth case of the virus reported in North Carolina this year.

Symptoms of chikungunya develop three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, but others may also suffer from headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chikungunya is usually not deadly, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. Most people feel better after about a week, though some may experience joint pain for months.

There is no treatment for chikungunya, but the CDC recommends the following to help decrease the symptoms:
-Get plenty of rest
-Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
-Take medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain.

Newborn babies, adults over the age of 65 and people with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure are at greater risk for more severe complications from chikungunya.

There is no vaccine for chikungunya, and the CDC says the best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites. Interestingly, the mosquitoes that spread the chikungunya virus tend to bite mostly during the daytime.

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