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This Mosquito-Borne Virus Is Scarier Than Previously Thought

July 11th, 2017

This Mosquito-Borne Virus Is Scarier Than Previously Thought

We have all been getting an earful about the Zika virus during the past year and a half to two years, and that is understandable. After all, Zika is ruining the lives of families, and most of all, newborn babies from many different parts of the globe. There is no exaggerating the devastating effects of Zika. However, there are many mosquito-borne disease that exist in the world, and some are downright deadly to the individual unlucky enough to contract any of these diseases. Mosquito-borne disease like malaria, West Nile, and dengue are capable of ruining a victim’s life. There is also another mosquito-borne disease that is known as Chikungunya. This disease has made it into the United States, and researchers are rapidly learning that its symptoms cause more suffering to victims than previously thought.

Much like malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases, Chikungunya causes symptoms such as fevers and aches. However, unlike the above-mentioned disease, Chikungunya causes severe joint pain that can become intolerable to its victims. This joint pain may lessen over a few weeks, but it can leave its victims with lasing joint issues, such as arthritis. But that is not all, as medical researchers are now learning that Chikungunya can cause encephalitis, which can result in a multitude of cognitive impairments and even death. Encephalitis often causes severe memory loss, sometimes with symptoms that could be classified as dementia.

Not too long ago an epidemic of Chikungunya took place on Reunion Island where the disease infected three hundred thousand people. Three years after the outbreak died down, researchers gathered a sample of three hundred people residing on the island that had contracted the disease. Among these three hundred test subjects, researchers discovered that fifty seven of them had acquired a central nervous system disease, and twenty four had been diagnosed with encephalitis as a result of contracting Chikungunya.

This virus is spreading around the world quickly, but scientists don’t know why some victims of the diseases develop encephalitis while other don’t experience any lasting symptoms at all. Vaccines for chikungunya are now being developed.

Had you ever heard of any American citizen having contracted this devastating disease? If so, did they develop persistent symptoms?

 

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