Brazil reports doubling of chikungunya cases in early 2023


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The number of probable cases of chikungunya in Brazil at the beginning of this year more than doubled compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

Aedes aegypti/CDC

Through February 20, the increase was 110%, from 16,971 to 35,569 probable cases. The highest percentages of increase were observed in the southeastern region, concentrating on the states of Minas Gerais and Espiritu Santo. Other companies that have seen an increase include Tocantins, Mato Grosso do Sul, Bahia and Sergipe.

The disease is characterized by symptoms such as sudden onset of high fever and severe joint pain. Like dengue and Zika, chikungunya is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Despite the similarities in symptoms, the main difference between dengue and chikungunya is joint pain, which is more severe in chikungunya, and mainly affects the feet and hands, usually the ankles and wrists.

The diagnosis of chikungunya must be made by a doctor and can be confirmed by specific laboratory tests. All tests are available in the Unified Health System (SUS). Since the disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, it is essential that people strengthen measures to eliminate breeding sites in homes and neighbourhoods.

The Ministry of Health stresses the importance of community participation:

  • Ensure that water tanks and other reservoirs are properly covered;
  • remove leaves or other types of dirt that can generate water buildup in gutters;
  • store tires in covered places;
  • Store bottles with the mouth facing downward;
  • periodically clean drains, gutters, and other types of drains;
  • Report cases of closed or abandoned properties that may contain swimming pools or mosquito breeding sites to your municipal health department. It is important to allow the Health Agent to visit the property;
  • If you have compatible symptoms, see a health service.

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Chikungunya is treated according to the symptoms. To date, there is no specific antiviral treatment for this disease. Hydration and rest are essential measures for recovery. Symptoms generally disappear after the acute phase of the disease, however, in some cases, joint pain can persist for months and even years. In these cases, the patient should return to the health unit for medical evaluation and avoid self-medication.

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