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Chikungunya Outbreak in Ethiopia; 20,000 Cases Recorded So Far

The infection is spread from two types of infected mosquitoes, namely, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. After the bite of an infected mosquito, the onset of illness occurs usually between 4 and 8 days but can range from 2 to 12 days.

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Updated:September 4, 2019, 6:00 PM IST
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Chikungunya Outbreak in Ethiopia; 20,000 Cases Recorded So Far
Representative image. (Image: Reuters)
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Ethiopia is broiling with the outbreak of Chikungunya, with 20,000 cases registered so far. A mosquito-borne disease, Chikungunya typically occurs in a tropical and sub-tropical climate, which is ideal for breeding of mosquitoes. The disease is rarely fatal in nature, but diagnosis and treatment on time are very important as the disease can lead to prolonged joint and muscles ache.

The infection is spread from two types of infected mosquitoes, namely, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. After the bite of an infected mosquito, the onset of illness occurs usually between 4 and 8 days but can range from 2 to 12 days.

In a press statement, the Ethiopia Public Health Institute (EPHI) has said that Ethiopian authorities have conducted an extensive anti-Chikungunya spray campaign in the eastern city of Dire Dawa, which is considered the epicentre of the disease. Nevertheless, there has still been a spike in the number of Chikungunya sufferers.

Chikungunya can be detected using serological tests. Serological tests, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), may confirm the presence of IgM and IgG anti-chikungunya antibodies.

IgM antibody levels are highest 3 to 5 weeks after the onset of illness and persist for about 2 months. Samples collected during the first week after the onset of symptoms should be tested by both serological and virological methods (RT-PCR). Recovery from the infectious disease will also confer lifelong immunity from the same.

On August 29, the EPHI had announced that the disease had infected 15,192 Ethiopians. Mesfin Wossen, who is the Provisional Director of Ethiopia Public Health Institute, has also announced that despite the outbreak of the disease, there is been no fatalities reported so far.

Wossen further called on the people of the nation to assist in controlling the spread of Chikungunya to vulnerable localities in Dire Dawa city. He requested that all open stored rain waters must be drained and any watery objects must be covered with clothes.

Chikungunya, which has similar clinical signs with dengue cases, previously affected Ethiopia's Somali, Afar, and Southern regional states.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that since Chikungunya has similar clinical signs with dengue, it can often be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.

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