Chikungunya is a threatening virus that most Australians have no idea what they could get, which may be transmitted through mosquito bites. Common to Asia and Africa, the illness is characterized by rashes around the body and severe joint pains felt for months after in contact with the illness.
There is no vaccine, cure or specific treatment yet for this disease in the market. Aedes aegypti (dengue mosquito) is the common carrier of the chikungunya virus, along with the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) or cold-blooded mosquitoes that may survive in an Australian climate.
In early 2013, reports of infected people by the virus rose to 19 cases in the past year to more than 70. The main culprit seemed to point to some Australians' favorite holiday destinations like Southeast Asia. Unaware of the dangers of contacting the virus, most travelers return to Australia with the disease. Many reported cases involved an individual who may have it and experience the effects but does not know exactly what he is suffering from.
Experts cited Queensland as starting point where an outbreak occured. The reason was that the dengue mosquito has already established itself there. Because of the lack of public awareness about chikungunya, there are barely any measures taken to immunize communities. This can be a huge problem as there are no figures being researched as to just how many cases of the disease enter the country and no means to identify which parts of the country are at a greater risk.
At present, the only way to beat the disease is to get prepared. General awareness by educating the public may be one way to fight it. Another countermeasure is to launch a study relating to what percentage of those coming back from Southeast Asia can be carriers. Statistics can give experts a clue as to how and when the virus is most potent.
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