Chikungunya in Costa Rica


(Picture: Verdy license: Public Domain via wikimedia commons)

What is Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted by virus-carrying mosquitoes. The virus is very similar to dengue fever. Thats why a chikungunya infection is often mistaken for dengue fever. The bad thing about chikungunya  is, that it is much worse then dengue. You will have much more pain when infected with chikungunya. Dengue fever is called the breakbone fever, because the intense pain feels like your bones are breaking. Chikungunya is translated something like "that bends up", people cannot even walk anymore because of the extreme pain suffered from this disease.
Chikungunya costa rica
Mosquito bites

Chikungunya even has another thing with dengue fever in common. There is no immunisation or even medicine for it. All you can do is take some painkillers and wait for it to finish. This might take 2-5 days. After this you will still suffer a long period of joint pains in the extremities. This pain might persist for years. Some people are still suffering from the infection. If you have been infected you will probably never have chikungunya again. Most people are immune after a first infection.

Symptoms for Chikungunya 

  • Incubation Period:  1-12 days
  • Fever up to 40 °C / 104°F
  • Rash of trunk & limbs
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Taste
  • Photophobia

How to prevent Chikungunya

There is no immunisation or medicine agains an chikungunya infection. The only thing you can do is to use mosquito protection. Every mosquito bite is a possible infection for dengue fever, chikungunya or other viruses in costa rica. Mosquitos will hunt for your blood the whole day. The first thing you should do in the morning is to put on your mosquito repellent. There are a lot of different mosquito repellents available on the market. I would recommend Anti Brumm Forte.
Anti Brumm is a quite strange name. It contains a lot of DEET and when properly used, this stuff will keep all mosquitos away from you. You should put on anti brumm every 8 hours. When sweating or swimming you should re-new it more often.
Always ask the locals or the staff at the hotels, if they have heard any cases of dengue fever or chikungunya in the area.
anti brumm forte
The best mosquito repellent available

Latest news about Chikungunya in Costa Rica

There are not many known infections from chikungunya in costa rica until now. But lately six cases of chikungunya have been confirmed. Most of these cases have been to dominican republic or the Quepos area. So you should double check your mosquito repellent when travelling there.

Update 08.13.2014:
US assesses virus of the Caribbean
Researchers warn that a change of mosquito host could accelerate spread of chikungunya across the Americas.

More information about chikungunya infections can be found on the official who webpage.

Map of Chikungunya spreading

Chikungunya map
Source: PAHO/WHO

Good to know
Chikungunya (Makonde for "that which bends up") virus is anarthropod-borne virus, of the genus Alphavirus, that is transmitted to humans by virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes.
CHIKV is transmitted similarly to dengue fever and causes an illness with an acute febrile phase lasting two to five days, followed by a longer period of joint pains in the extremities; this pain may persist for years in some cases.
The best means of prevention is overall mosquito control and in addition, the avoidance of bites by any infected mosquitoes.There is no specific treatment but medications can be used to reduce symptoms. Rest and fluids may also be useful (read more on wikipedia)

No comments:

Post a Comment