Can chikungunya infection adversely affect the fetus?
Q: Currently, I am living outside India with my family and returning to India for personal reasons. In my native place, Chikungunya infection has become an epidemic and most of my family members have had the infection. My wife is in her early pregnancy (2nd month) and I would like to know how the infection is going to affect the embryo if my wife gets the infection? What are precautions we should take in that case?
A:Chikungunya infection is a generalised viral infection and though supportive or palliative medical care with anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics is available, there is no specific treatment for chikungunya. The illness is usually self-limiting and resolves with time. Symptomatic treatment is recommended after excluding other more dangerous diseases. Analgesics, antipyretics and fluid supplementation are important aspects in managing this infection. There is no vaccine currently available. Prevention is possible by controlling proliferation of mosquitoes in stagnant water. Water collection should be avoided by: -Eliminating any still water found on roofs -Seeing to it that water pipes are not clogged -Properly covering all water tanks so that mosquitoes cannot get in -Getting rid of any container capable of retaining water in the outdoor surroundings (used tyres, food cans, garbage, saucers under flower pots, etc) -Renew water in flower vases at least once a week Other precautions: Wear clothes that suitably cover arms and legs Use mosquito nets and mosquito repellent products (coils, sprays, topical lotions and creams) Have secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. A person with chikungunya fever should limit their exposure to mosquito bites in order to avoid further spreading the infection, and should stay indoors or under a mosquito net.