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Chikungunya Virus: Additional Diagnostic Aid

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:55 GMT

Author: Jairaj C. Kumar
Position: Visiting Research Fellow
Institution: J.N.Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore
Additional Authors: Arunachalam Kumar, K S Hegde Medical Academy, Mangalore
Submitted Date: May 25, 2006
Published Date: June 1, 2006
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

In this part of the third world, the rural reaches of interior rural India, the priority remains on early diagnosis and rapid hospitalization of the Chikungunya afflicted patient. In recent weeks thousands of patients in south India have flocked into city-based hospitals for treatment, throwing the already overstrained medical services into a flux. In most cases diagnosis has often been delayed, missed, or confused by tertiary level clinicians.

The authors cite the disease - as an acute infection of abrupt onset, characterized by high fever, arthralgia, myalgia, headache, and rash. Poly-arthralgia, the typical clinical sign of the disease, is very painful. Symptoms are generally self-limiting. However, arthralgia may persist for months or years. In some patients, minor hemorrhagic signs such as epistaxis or gingivorrhagia have also been described.

In our ongoing study being conducted at two locales in two worst affected southern states, we have found that in establishing the diagnosis at grassroots level, apart from the cited confirmatory signs and symptoms, one more minor yet invariably mentioned problem is terrorizing nightmares. All eight patients referred to hospital for the virus gave a history of dreadful dreams and disturbing nighmares.
We report this as a possible diagnostic feature for Chikungunya Virus.

No competing interests declared.