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Mosquito-borne virus chikungunya may lead to fatal brain infection, a study investigates

Tropical nations such as the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Africa are prone to chikungunya outbreaks. Joint pain and fever are the two most common symptoms of the chikungunya infection.

A recent study published in the Neurology medical journal claimed that encephalitis is most commonly found with people over 65 years old and infants. Researchers of the study have warned people to avoid the chikungunya disease because it can cause severe brain damage through infection and may also kill young children and aged persons. Moreover, encephalitis which is the rate of brain infection has been found higher in the tropical continents than that in the United States during the recent West Nile Virus scare and similar outbreaks between 1999 and 2007.

Symptoms like joint pains will remain present for months in some people or in extreme cases, for years. Additionally, the chikungunya outbreak in Reunion Island between 2005 and 2006 affected about 300, 000 people.

Patrick Gerardin, study author and PhD of Central University Hospital found in Saint Pierre, Reunion Island, said that people traveling to infected areas should wear repellent and trousers along with long sleeves shirt whenever possible to avoid mosquito bites. This is because chikungunya has no medicine or vaccine to treat it, so far.

It is said through a report that 24 people have encephalitis connected to chikungunya, making an incident rate of about 8.6 per 100, 000 individuals. The researchers of the study confirmed that the cause of the study was to deduce whether people suffering from neurological problems when they first got infected by the virus are still getting trouble with it after three years.

Noticeably, the rate of infection among infants and elderly persons are higher with 187 per 100, 000 children and 37 per 100, 000 persons aged over 65. The virus caused brain inflammation to both parties.

Unfortunately, death caused by chikungunya virus is about 17 percent. A few children manifested with cognitive and behavioral changes while some elderly persons got post-infectious dementia because of the encephalitis.

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