NewsDesk @bactiman63

The number of probable cases of chikungunya in Brazil at the beginning of this year more than doubled compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

Aedes aegypti/CDC

Until February 20, the increase was 110%, from 16,971 to 35,569 probable cases. The highest percentages of increase were observed in the Southeast region, with emphasis on the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. Others with an increase are Tocantins, Mato Grosso do Sul, Bahia and Sergipe.

The disease is characterized by symptoms such as a sudden onset of high fever and severe joint pain. Like dengue and Zika, chikungunya is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Despite the similarities in symptoms, the main difference between dengue and chikungunya is joint pain, much more intense in chikungunya, affecting mainly feet and hands, usually in the ankles and wrists.

The diagnosis of chikungunya must be made by a doctor and can be confirmed by specific laboratory tests. All exams are available in the Unified Health System (SUS). As the disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, it is essential that people reinforce measures to eliminate breeding sites in homes and neighborhoods.

The Ministry of Health emphasizes the importance of community participation:

  • Make sure that water tanks and other reservoirs are properly covered;
  • Remove leaves or other types of dirt that can generate water accumulation in the gutters;
  • Store tires in covered places;
  • Store bottles with the mouth facing down;
  • Periodically clean drains, gutters and other types of drains;
  • Report situations of closed or abandoned properties that may contain swimming pools or mosquito breeding sites to the Municipal Health Department in your municipality. It is important to let the Health Agent visit the property;
  • If you have compatible symptoms, look for a health service.

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The treatment of chikungunya is done according to the symptoms. So far, there is no specific antiviral treatment for the disease. Hydration and rest are essential measures for recovery. The symptoms, in general, disappear after the acute phase of the disease, however, in some cases, joint pain can persist for months and even years. In these cases, the patient should return to the health unit for medical evaluation and avoid self-medication.