Dona Ganguly, the wife of former cricketer Sourav Ganguly, has been admitted to a hospital in Kolkata after being diagnosed with chikungunya. “Dona Ganguly has been diagnosed to be suffering from chikungunya. She remains haemodynamically stable and afebrile, and is on maintenance IV fluids,” Dr Rupali Basu, MD and CEO, Woodlands Hospital said in a press statement.
She was admitted to the private hospital late on Tuesday with fever, joint pain, and rashes, the statement added.
What is chikungunya and was are its causes?
According to the World Health Organization, chikungunya, which gets its name from the chikungunya virus (CHIKV) that causes it, is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya, mentions WHO.
The infection causes fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, joint swelling, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. WHO notes that joint pain associated with chikungunya is often “debilitating, and can vary in duration”. “But, in general, it is not contagious,” said Dr Tushar Tayal, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram.
“Chikungunya symptoms usually occur 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as those over the age of 65, are more prone to develop severe chikungunya symptoms,” Dr Tayal told indianexpress.com.
If a person has any of the above-listed symptoms, they should see a doctor as soon as possible, Dr Tayal said. “This is because symptoms of chikungunya are not usually distinguishable from those of other mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, and dengue; only a blood test can be used to definitively diagnose the disease,” said Dr Tayal.
According to WHO, there is currently no vaccine or specific drug against the virus. The treatment is focused on relieving disease symptoms. Agreed Dr Tayal and mentioned that health experts usually advise patients to rest and drink plenty of fluids. “Chikungunya is rarely fatal or causes major complications. Many people recover in a few weeks. Some others can experience joint and muscular discomfort that can linger for months or years after being infected with the virus,” he said.
The discomfort in the joints is caused by the body’s immune system responding to the viral infection, explained Dr Vivek Mahajan, senior consultant, Orthopaedic and Joint Replacement Surgeon at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre. “Chikungunya arthritis can last up to three months, and in rare circumstances up to a year. Medicines are beneficial in relieving pain and shortening the recovery period. Chikungunya arthritis can be quite debilitating, and sufferers frequently feel crippled since they are unable to perform their normal daily tasks,” said Dr Mahajan.
Dr Mahajan also elucidated that pain is often felt if joints are not moved and kept mobile. “This is why the pain and stiffness is usually severe in the morning as the joints move so little during the night. To alleviate the ache, perform some gentle activities. Apply hot and cold packs to inflamed areas. This will help with the pain,” he elaborated.
Before taking any medication, always check with your doctor. “Overuse and long-term usage of pain relievers can be harmful to your kidneys and liver,” warned Dr Mahajan.
Since mosquito bites are the single way of chikungunya transmission, avoiding mosquito contact is one of the greatest preventive measure, Dr Tayal noted.