Fri. Oct 30th, 2020
Malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya: Causes, symptoms and their biggest differences
Malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya: Causes, symptoms and their biggest differences

Here is all you need to know about them

We all have mixed feelings when it comes to monsoon. The rainy season does bring respite from hot sunny days, but the plethora of diseases that accompany it cannot be overlooked. The temperature and humidity are perfect for breeding of mosquitoes. That’s why mosquito-borne diseases like chikungunya, malaria and dengue are common in this season.

All of them are viral diseases that are spread to people when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. All these diseases are caused by different types of viruses and are spread by different types of mosquitoes. Not only this, even the symptoms of the diseases are more or less the same. Here is how you can differentiate between these three mosquito-borne diseases.

Malaria

Malaria is caused by the transmission of plasmodium into the body by a female Anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes generally bite at night. Plasmodium is a type of parasitic protozoa. Vivax and Falciparum are the common species of Plasmodium found in India.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of malaria start to appear between 10 to 28 days after a person is infected with the virus. In some cases, the signs appear after 7 days also.

Sporadic high fever is the most common symptom of malaria. The fever comes and goes at regular intervals. A person may have a high fever, followed by profuse sweating and chills and then the temperature starts to rise again. The fever keeps on coming after 6-12 hours. A person infected with malaria virus may also complain about constipation, nausea and abdominal pain. Malaria may also lead to jaundice due to loss of red blood cells from the body.

Dengue

Dengue is transmitted to humans by female Aedes mosquitoes. These mosquitoes carry the dengue virus (DEN), which comprises four distinct serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4) and belong to the Flaviviridae family. The dengue mosquito commonly bite during daytime or before dusk.

Symptoms:

The patient infected with dengue virus starts showing symptoms within 3 to 14 days. The first symptom includes high-fever followed by body pain. Fever may be accompanied frequently with severe sweating and headaches. Some patients even experience pain behind the eyes, which is known as retro-orbital pain in medical terms. Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, rashes on face and limbs, mild bleeding and low blood pressure are other symptoms of dengue. In acute cases, decreased urine output and breathlessness may also trouble the patients.

Chikungunya

Chikungunya

Chikungunya is also transmitted by the same female Aedes mosquitoes that spread dengue. It is caused by the RNA virus that belongs to the alphavirus genus of the Togaviridae family.

Symptoms:

The symptoms start appearing between 4 and 7 days after a person is infected. The major symptom of chikungunya includes excessive body pain, swelling in the joints and rashes in several parts of the body. In severe cases, the patient may suffer from body pain. Swelling around hands and feet and red eyes are also quite common.

Prevention

Here are some easy to prevent yourself from the mosquito bites:

Wear loose-fitted clothes

Wear light coloured clothes

Use essential oil in home

Burn some incense stick

Keep your surrounding clean

Remove standing water

The bottom line

While Malaria can be cured by drugs like chloroquine and artemisinin, there is no known treatment available for dengue and chikungunya. The patients suffering from dengue and chikungunya are generally prescribed painkillers and paracetamol. They might sound like common diseases but all of them can prove to be fatal. So, prevention is the only way to keep yourself safe.



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