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Expat Exchange - Chikungunya Disease in El Salvador
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El Zonte, El Salvador


Chikungunya Disease in El Salvador

By Joshua Wood, LPC

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

Summary: If you're a moving to El Salvador 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 El Salvador 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 El Salvador. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Chikungunya virus in El Salvador, 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 Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The symptoms usually appear between 4 and 8 days after the mosquito bite and can include high fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash. The joint pain is often debilitating and can last for weeks or months, and in some cases, years. Most patients recover fully, but in some cases, the joint pain can persist for a long time. Serious complications are rare, but the disease can contribute to the cause of death in older people.

Where is Chikungunya Most Prevalent in El Salvador?

Chikungunya was first identified in El Salvador in 2014 and quickly spread across the country. The disease is most prevalent in densely populated urban areas where the Aedes mosquito breeds in stagnant water. The coastal regions of El Salvador, including La Libertad and San Salvador, have reported high incidences of Chikungunya due to the favorable breeding conditions for the mosquitoes.

How do Expats in El Salvador Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Preventing mosquito bites is the most effective way to avoid Chikungunya. Expats in El Salvador are advised to use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and ensure their accommodations are mosquito-proof by using window and door screens or air conditioning. It's also important to eliminate mosquito breeding sites by regularly emptying, cleaning or covering containers that can hold water, such as buckets, flower pots or tires.

What if I get Chikungunya Virus in El Salvador?

If you get infected with the Chikungunya virus in El Salvador, it's important to seek medical attention immediately. While there's no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya, medication can help to reduce the fever and pain. Rest and fluids are also important. If symptoms worsen or persist for more than a week, it's crucial to seek further medical advice as this could indicate a more serious condition.

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 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.

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

While Chikungunya can affect individuals of all ages, the elderly, children, and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms. In these individuals, the disease can lead to severe joint pain, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and in rare cases, death. Therefore, it's particularly important for these high-risk groups to take preventive measures against mosquito bites and seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms of Chikungunya.

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.


AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

El Zonte, El Salvador

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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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