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Expat Exchange - Chikungunya Disease in Cambodia
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Siem Reap, Cambodia


Chikungunya Disease in Cambodia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: If you're a moving to Cambodia 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 Cambodia 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 is a mosquito-borne disease that has been a significant health concern in many parts of the world, including Cambodia. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Chikungunya virus in Cambodia, its symptoms, prevalence, prevention methods, and its impact on different age groups and those with compromised immune systems.

What is Chikungunya Disease?

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, primarily the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species. The name "Chikungunya" derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning "to become contorted", and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain. Symptoms typically include fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash. The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. Most patients recover fully, but in some cases, 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.

Where is Chikungunya Most Prevalent in Cambodia?

Chikungunya virus is prevalent throughout Cambodia, with outbreaks often occurring during the rainy season when mosquito populations are at their highest. The disease is found in both urban and rural areas. In recent years, significant outbreaks have been reported in provinces such as Kampong Speu, Takeo, and Kandal. However, the actual number of cases is likely much higher due to underreporting and misdiagnosis.

How do Expats in Cambodia Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Preventing mosquito bites is the most effective way to avoid Chikungunya virus. Expats in Cambodia can take several steps to protect themselves. These include wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using mosquito repellents on exposed skin, and sleeping under mosquito nets. It's also important to eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying, covering, or treating any items that hold water, such as flower pots, buckets, and tires. Air-conditioned rooms and rooms with window and door screens can also help keep mosquitoes out.

What if I get Chikungunya Virus in Cambodia?

If you suspect you have contracted the Chikungunya virus in Cambodia, it's important to seek medical attention immediately. While there is no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya, treatment is directed primarily at relieving the symptoms, including the joint pain using anti-pyretics, optimal analgesics, and fluids. Rest is also important. If you have recently visited a region where the virus is present and begin to experience symptoms, be sure to inform your healthcare provider.

Is Chikungunya Virus Contagious?

Chikungunya virus is not directly contagious from person to person. The virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. However, a mosquito can pick up the virus when it bites an infected person and can then spread the virus to other people. It's important to note that the virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her newborn at the time of birth.

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

While Chikungunya virus can affect individuals of all ages, severe cases are more likely to occur in infants, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions. These individuals are more likely to experience complications such as severe joint pain, eye, heart, and neurological problems. Therefore, it's particularly important for these groups to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and seek immediate medical attention if symptoms of Chikungunya virus are experienced.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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Siem Reap, Cambodia

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