WHAT IS CHIKUNGUNYA ?
Chikungunya is a severe disease, which is transmitted through the bite of a contaminated mosquito. The symptoms of the infection are diverse and usually include a fever and joint pain, as well as headaches, muscular pain, joint swelling and skin rash.
WHAT IS THE RISK FOR TRAVELERS ?
All the persons traveling to Africa, to Asia, to Central America, to South America, as well as to islands located in the Indian Ocean, in the Caribbean and in the Western and Southern Pacific Ocean are at high risk for chikungunya. It is good to know that the mosquitoes which are carrying the chikungunya virus are more active during the day, both indoors and outdoors. They are frequently found in urban areas.
HOW TO PREVENT CHIKUNGUNYA ?
There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for chikungunya. If you are traveling to an area at risk, you must protect yourself efficiently against mosquito bites. Even if this is sometimes difficult, it is essential, as a single contaminated bite can infect you.
- Always wear protective clothes, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats.
- Apply mosquito repellent on exposed skin. Preferably choose a repellent offering long lasting protection and containing a high percentage of active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin or IR3535. Always use insect repellents with caution and follow product instructions. Avoid applying repellent in your eyes, in your mouth and on your hands. Note that you can combine sunscreen and mosquito repellent, just apply the sunscreen first.
- You can also use Permethrin-treated clothing and gear. Permethrin offers optimal protection against mosquitoes, even after several washes. You can buy pre-treated clothes and equipment in specialized shops, or you can treat your own items, like pants, socks, boots and tents. Always handle Permethrin with caution : follow product instructions and avoid direct contact with your skin.
- Always sleep under a mosquito net, especially if your room is exposed outdoors or if you sleep outside.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BITTEN BY A MOSQUITO ?
If you are bitten by a mosquito, don’t scratch the affected area. Apply immediately hydrocortisone-based cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itch.
IF YOU FEEL SICK :
If you feel sick after visiting an area at risk for chikungunya, see a doctor immediately, especially if you have a fever. It is important that you inform the physician of the countries where you have recently been and of your activities there, as well as of eventual mosquito bites. Acetaminophen and paracetamol are usually prescribed to treat fever and pain. You should also drink a lot and rest. Avoid contact with other people until you have completely recovered.
We make every effort to ensure that the information posted on our website is up to date and accurate according to the latest public health recommendations; however, it is impossible for us to make changes on a daily basis.
For the most current travel health recommendations, please call our clinic as make an appointment with one of our travel health professionals.