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Expat Exchange - Chikungunya Disease in Honduras
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Roatan, Honduras


Chikungunya Disease in Honduras

By Betsy Burlingame

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: If you're a moving to Honduras 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 Honduras 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 Honduras. The virus, which causes severe joint pain and fever, has been prevalent in the country, affecting both locals and expatriates. This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the Chikungunya virus in Honduras, 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, specifically the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species, which are also responsible for dengue and Zika virus. The symptoms usually appear between four to eight 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 even months. In some cases, the disease can lead to long-term effects such as persistent joint pain, eye, neurological and heart complications. However, deaths related to Chikungunya are relatively rare.

Where is Chikungunya Most Prevalent in Honduras?

Chikungunya was first identified in Honduras in 2014 and has since been prevalent in various parts of the country. The disease is more common in urban and semi-urban areas where the mosquito vectors thrive. Regions with high population density, poor sanitation, and stagnant water bodies are particularly at risk. The northern coast and central regions of Honduras, including cities like Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, have reported high incidences of the disease.

How do Expats in Honduras Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Preventing mosquito bites is the most effective way to avoid Chikungunya. Expats in Honduras 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 crucial 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 Honduras?

If you get infected with the Chikungunya virus in Honduras, it's essential to seek medical attention immediately. While there's no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya, medications can help reduce the fever and pain. Rest and hydration are also crucial. It's also important to avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness to prevent further spread of the virus.

Is Chikungunya Virus Contagious?

Chikungunya virus is not directly contagious from person to person. The virus requires a mosquito as a vector to transmit the disease. When a mosquito bites an infected person, it can then carry the virus and transmit it to other people through bites. However, in rare cases, the virus can be transmitted from a mother to her newborn around the time of birth, or possibly through infected blood.

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

While Chikungunya can affect individuals of all ages, the disease tends to be more severe in infants, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions. These groups are more likely to experience complications such as severe joint pain, eye, neurological and heart complications. Therefore, it's particularly important for these individuals to take preventive measures against 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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SJB Global

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SJB Global

Roatan, Honduras

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