Chikungunya – Brazil

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There have been 45 people being identified with chikungunya in São Nicolau, Brazil this week.

This is a disease being transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, with clinical symptoms including fever, body pain, joint pain, body stain, weakness and lacking of appetite.

There have been 12 confirmed cases across Rio Grande do Sul in 2020 and 16 confirmed cases in 2019. That is, the outbreak reached the peak of registered chikungunya cases in the state since 2019.

The municipality of São Nicolau and the regional health coordinator have started working on the elimination of mosquito breeding sites, including dragging, scanning sites and applying smoke. Moreover, the government will start to notify about the disease to raise awarenesses. Besides, they also noted that the cleaning of patios, land and any outbreak of standing water should be collaboratively done by all.

Photo: Electron micrograph of Chikungunya virus.

Chikungunya is an infection caused by the Chikungunya virus, spread by two types of mosquitoes that both carry distinct white stripes on their legs and sides of their bodies.

Symptoms are generally flu-like with fever and joint pain. Usually the pain improves within a week, but occasionally the joint pain may last for months or even years. There is a small risk of death whit this disease.

While the disease typically occurs in Africa and Asia, outbreaks have been reported in Europe and the Americas since the 2000s.

The best means of prevention is overall mosquito control and the avoidance of bites in areas where the disease is common. Covering arms and legs when outdoor, is always a good idea. Insect repellents can also help. No specific treatment is available for this disease.

Chikungunya was first identified in 1952 in Tanganyika, current day Tanzania. The name of the disease originates from the Kimakonde language and means "that which bends up" or "to become contorted", indicating the severe joint pain and arthritic symptoms it can cause.

The first recorded outbreak of this disease may have been in 1779, molecular genetics confirm that this disease evolved around 1700.

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