Health authorities in Florida are growing more concern about the local mosquito population. They have declared that if the mosquitos aren’t kept in check then the state would face another Chikungunya outbreak. And to make matters worse, Chikungunya infection can cause brain damage and, according to the doctors, children are very vulnerable to the virus.
The last outbreak that stricken the French Reunion Island, was between 2005 and 2006. At that time, more than 300000 were infected by the virus. Chikungunya, a Makonde word which can be translated as “that which bends up”, is, as stated, a severe brain infection cause by the Chikungunya virus. The disease usually begins with a sudden fever. This symptom usually occurs 4 days after being exposed to the Chikungunya virus, an organism transmitted through mosquito bites.
After the sudden fever episode, the disease is also accompanied by severe joint pains. Although it was catalogued as being a severe infection, surprisingly, the death rate is rather low. Estimates showed that 1 in a 1000 people will die each year, due to Chikungunya complications.
Among other symptoms associated with the Chikungunya virus are conjunctivitis, fatigue, joint pain and severe digestive issues. Rash is another common symptom associated with this disease. Although the rash accompanies only 40 to 50 percent of all Chikungunya cases, it is not to be taken lightly. The rash itself presents itself in the form of a maculopapular rash. This usually occurs in the second or in the fifth day following the infection.
Getting back to our initial research, it would seem that the Chikungunya infection can cause brain damage. During the outbreak of the virus, approximately 57 people were diagnosed with CNS symptomatology. Out of the 57 people, 24 of them were displaying signs of encephalitis.
But the outbreak did not occur only on Reunion Island. According to a report, issued on September 2015, the Mexican health authorities registered over 7000 new cases of Chikungunya.
As stated, Chikungunya is usually regarded as a non-fatal disease. Most physicians agree that the symptoms would last for only a couple of weeks and then they will subside on their own. However, Chikungunya is known to produce a possibly deadly complication in the form of encephalitis. The death rate among those who had contracted encephalitis is place around 17 percent.
It would seem that the most vulnerable to this disease are the young infants, the elderly and those, in general, who have a weakened immune system.