Chikungunya – Brazil

585 cases of chikungunya in Santos, Brazil from January to March 2021. The infection is transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Some symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, red eyes and skin, bilateral joint pains, headaches, abdominal pain, water in the lung, bleeding from the mucuous membranes, drowsiness, lethargy, and low blood pressure.

An 87-year-old man had died from chikungunya and this is the first death reported in 2021 from the city of Santos. Patients who do not require hospitalization receive a follow up card and are assisted every 48 hours at the reference polyclinic in their neighborhood.

The city is increasing efforts to combat the mosquitoes that are transmitting these infections. The population can report any infections by phone or internet to mitigate the spread. The city is recommending anyone who has these symptoms to be evaluated by a doctor.

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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