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Expat Exchange - Chikungunya Disease in Argentina
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Salta, Argentina


Chikungunya Disease in Argentina

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: If you're a moving to Argentina or recently arrived, it's important to know about Chikungunya Disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Chikungunya is sometimes misdiagnosed as Zika Virus. Unfortunately, many report long-term joint pain following the initial illness.

If you've recently moved to Argentina or are planning to, it's essential to be aware of Chikungunya Disease, spread by mosquitoes. This illness is frequently confused with the Zika Virus, and many suffer from persistent joint pain after recovering from the initial symptoms.

Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne disease, has been a significant health concern in Argentina. The virus, which causes severe joint pain and fever, has been spreading rapidly in the country, affecting both locals and expatriates. This article aims to provide comprehensive information about the Chikungunya virus in Argentina, its symptoms, prevalence, prevention methods, and its impact on different age groups and those with compromised immunity.

What is Chikungunya Disease?

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It 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 and can last for weeks or months, and in some cases, years. Most patients recover fully, but in some cases, the joint pain may persist for several months, or even years. Occasional cases of eye, neurological, and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints. Serious complications are not common, but in older people, the disease can contribute to the cause of death.

Where is Chikungunya Most Prevalent in Argentina?

Chikungunya virus was first detected in Argentina in 2014. Since then, it has spread rapidly across the country, with the highest number of cases reported in the northern provinces, including Salta, Tucuman, and Jujuy. These regions have a tropical climate, which provides an ideal breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary vector of the Chikungunya virus. However, cases have been reported in other parts of the country as well, including Buenos Aires.

How do Expats in Argentina Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to avoid Chikungunya. Expats in Argentina are advised to use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and ensure their accommodations are mosquito-proof by using screens on windows and doors or sleeping under mosquito nets. It's also important to eliminate mosquito breeding sites, such as standing water in flower pots, buckets, and barrels. Public health campaigns in Argentina also focus on community efforts to control mosquito populations and prevent the spread of the virus.

What if I get Chikungunya Virus in Argentina?

If you get infected with the Chikungunya virus in Argentina, it's important to seek medical attention immediately. While there's no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya, medication can help to relieve the symptoms. Rest and fluids are also important. If you have recently visited a region where the virus is prevalent and start to experience symptoms, it's crucial to inform your healthcare provider of your travel history.

Is Chikungunya Virus Contagious?

Chikungunya virus is not directly contagious from person to person. The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. However, a mosquito can pick up the virus from an infected person and then spread it to other people. Therefore, it's important for infected individuals to avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness to prevent further transmission of the virus.

Is Chikungunya Virus More Dangerous for Children, Elderly or Immune-Compromised?

While Chikungunya virus can affect individuals of all ages, severe cases tend to occur in older adults, newborns, and people with underlying health conditions. These individuals are more likely to develop complications such as severe joint pain, eye, heart, and neurological problems. Therefore, it's particularly important for these high-risk groups to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms of the disease.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Salta, Argentina

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Flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Use Promocode: LIFE10 and get 10% off your international health insurance for life!
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