Chikungunya Fever Guide

Differences Between Dengue and Chikungunya

Historically Chikungunya was known as Dengue. It was only after the outbreak of Chikungunya in Makonde Plateau, along the border between Mozambique and Tanganyika (Tanzania) that it was identified as a separate disease. Chikungunya virus was first isolated by RW Ross in 1953.

Dengue and Chikungunya are viral diseases with very similar symptoms. Both has patient symptoms such as high fever, headache, eye pain, joint pain, rashes and lethargy. Both viral infections are spread by Aedes mosquito. However identifying the exact disease is critical since Dengue is much more dangerous and may need emergency medical intervention. It is also possible for a patient to have Dengue and Chikungunya at the same time (coinfection). Sometimes Dengue/Chikungunya is also confused with Malaria. The most distinguishing feature of Dengue is bleeding.

Differences Between Dengue and Chikungunya

Dengue and Chikungunya diseases are caused by viruses, but they are different viruses. Chikungunya is caused by a Togaviridae alphavirus, while dengue is caused by a Flavirideae flavivirus. Dengue is much more common and more fatal than Chikungunya. However Chikungunya joint pain may last for years causing long term quality of life issues. The following table lists the differences between Dengue and Chikungunya,

Type Chikungunya Dengue
Duration of disease Incubation period of 1 to 12 days and disease duration varies from one to two weeks. However symptoms such as joint pain may persist for a long time. Incubation period of 3 to 7 days and disease duration varies from 4 to 7 weeks.
Initial Symptoms Fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, eye infection, rashes Fever, joint pain, headache, rashes
Joint pain and muscle pain Joint pains on hands and feet. Swelling is present and the pain is high in the morning. Muscle pain on the back, arms and legs. Joint pain on knees and shoulders.
Skin rashes Rashes on trunk, limbs, face, palms and feet. Rashes usually limited to face and limbs.
Possible complications Upto 10% of patients develop chronic joint pain. Neurological damage is possible, but rare. Life threatening complications such as shock, breathing difficulty and heavy bleeding can occur.

Clinical and Laboratory Features of Chikungunya and Dengue Fever

Clinical and Laboratory Features of Chikungunya and Dengue Fever

Geographical Distribution of Dengue and Chikungunya

Another important aspect of identifying Dengue and Chikungunya is to be aware of geographical distribution of these diseases. It is very important for doctors to get patient history including their travel history. The following maps show the geographical distribution of Chikungunya and Dengue as of 2015.

Geographic Distribution of Chikungunya Fever (2015)

Geographic Distribution of Chikungunya (2015)

Geographic Distribution of Dengue Fever (2015)

Geographic Distribution of Dengue Fever (2015)

Treatment of Dengue and Chikungunya

There is no specific treatment for either dengue fever or chikungunya, and treatment for uncomplicated chikungunya cases is symptomatic, with a focus on rehydration and pain relief. Rehydration is important in all cases of fever, particularly in hot climates, where patients should be treated with oral rehydration therapy as required. Patients with severe dengue should be treated with parenteral rehydration and platelet transfusion. Currently there are no vaccines available for Dengue or Chikungunya. There are a number of vaccines in clinical trials and we can expect vaccines for Dengue and Chikungunya in the near future.

References