KIMAKONDE = CHIKUNGUNYA

AN UNEASY BUZZ 1) “Chikungunya” means in Kimakonde, an African language. 2) Chikungunya is a fever spread by a virus [ arboviruses (ARthropod BOrne viruses)] that is transmitted by the female mosquito. 3) Female mosquitoes need proteins from mammalian blood for their eggs to develop, which is why they bite humans. 4) WHY ? These viruses were originally present only in the forest areas infecting primarily monkey species. Humans were just incidental hosts. But now due to the impact of industrialisation and loss of forest cover, these viruses have made humans as their permanent hosts. 5) Diagnosis ? No effective method to detect viruses except reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), but it requires trained personnel + optimal conditions. 6) Control the key : How? intense vector control and public health awareness programmes. curbing the mosquito population before the monsoon starts. 7) Other issues : A lack of sensitive virus-specific diagnostic tools, an absence of drugs/vaccine, poor vector control measures and public awareness contribute tremendously in escalating the problem.

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