DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DENGUE, CHIKUNGUNYA AND ZIKA
The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is the main common denominator of these three diseases. The three are transmitted by this species of mosquito, the yellow fever mosquito, small size and recognized by their distinctive white markings. At the same time, the three diseases coincide in not having vaccine to combat them. However, they are different and each one shows substantial differences in their characteristics. Learning to know the symptoms will help us to recognize each case and make a better diagnosis.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that has rapidly spread in all regions of WHO in recent years. Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics, with local variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperature and unplanned rapid urbanization. Dengue fever is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, but seldom causes death. Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by 2 of the following symptoms: severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rash. Symptoms usually last for 2–7 days, after an incubation period of 4–10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito. According to the WHO, the most vulnerable to dengue are people with diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease or asthma.
Chikungunya is also a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. The disease occurs in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades mosquito vectors of chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas. Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks. Hence the virus can cause acute, subacute or chronic disease. After the bite of an infected mosquito, onset of illness occurs usually between 4 and 8 days but can range from 2 to 12 days.
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys through a network that monitored yellow fever. It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. But it gained prominence when in July 2015 Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome and them an association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly. However, most cases do not suffer complications. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days.
There is no vaccine or treatment for this three diseases. Therefore, the authorities advised citizens to protect themselves from mosquito bites as much as possible and seek medical advice if any symptom is detected before a mosquito bite.