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Dengue and Chikungunya: The Dirge of a Nation

but the mortality rate is very low. The Hemorrhagic fever or 'Shock Syndrome' is the severe variety, which could be fatal. The patient suffers from high fever, bleeds from the nose, ears, gums and the skin and enters a state of shock due to blood loss. Most often death becomes inevitable and occurs within 24 hours, especially among children. This type of fever is fatal in 5% of those affected.

Chikungunya fever is another highly disabling disease, which has of late taken epidemic proportions. The word 'Chikungunya' which originated from the Swahili word meaning 'that which bends' refers to the stooped, arthritic posture acquired by the affected individual. The Chikungunya virus, also known as the 'buggy creek virus' is transmitted again by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms develop within a day or two of biting.

Symptoms of dengue, which appear 8-10 days after the mosquito bite, include severe headache, nausea, vomiting, pain behind the eyes, fever, and development of rashes .The fever usually lasts up to ten days. Chikungunya afflicted individuals suffer from severe pain and swelling of the joints, in addition to nausea, vomiting, infection of the conjunctiva of the eye and fever.

Diagnosis of both Dengue and Chikungunya is possible by carrying out serological tests, using blood samples, which will show the presence of antibodies for the concerned virus, indicating infection.

In the case of Dengue, these antibodies appear approximately 8 days after being bitten and may last up to 1-3 months. This test is carried out as a preliminary tests and boasts of an accuracy of 80-90%. ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) are other tests done that may distinguish Chikungunya from Dengue, but they are complicated and expensive and therefore done selectively.

Managing the disease by treating its symptoms is the only method for both D
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