Prevention of Chikungunya Fever
Currently there is no vaccine for Chikungunya. There is only way to prevent Chikungunya fever - don't get bit by a mosquito! This is easier said than done in a tropical area such as India. Some of the following precautions can help reduce the risk of mosquito bites,
Reducing the risk of mosquito bite
- Use mosquito net when sleeping during daytime.
- Wear dress which covers most of the body. Also there are repellents available which can be applied on dress materials.
- Use mosquito coils or repellents(which contains Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or DEET). But you should be aware that prolonged use of these are not recommended. Also ensure adequate ventilation when these are used.
- Use curtains or window nets which prevent entry of mosquitos to the house.
- Use of cream or spray that can be applied on skin. This masks body odour and effectively you are invisible from mosquito. Very handy if you are visiting an area where Chikungunya is reported.
Another way to reduce the mosquite bite is to take steps to reduce its breeding. This needs to be a community effort since only one individual alone cannot achieve much. Some of the following steps can be taken to reduce mosquito breeding in your area,
Reducing mosquito breedingThe circled areas on the image displayed on the right side shows possible mosquito breeding sites.
- Drain all the water collected around your house (for example in a pot or water cooler).
- Ensure that drainages etc. are either closed or chemicals are applied which kill mosquito larvae (larvicides).
- Another technique is to collect water in a container and once mosquitos lay eggs in it destroy them. This technique can be quite effective if multiple people apply it at their area.
- If there is a pond which contains stagnant water, biological method is best. Fish varieties such as guppy can be introduced in the pond which will eat all the mosquito larvae.
Note that most infection happens occur outside the house and hence mosquito control is the most effective way to prevent Chikungunya outbreak. It is also important that patients with infection don't get bitten by mosquito.