Malaria, dengue and chikungunya are three types of mosquito-borne diseases which are very common in North India, specially during Monsoon. All of these diseases are quite serious and can be life-threatening. Because the symptoms are so similar in each of the diseases, it can be quite difficult to make a conclusive determination without laboratory testing.
Malaria: Malaria is caused by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito. It can only be spread by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito unlike dengue. The malaria mosquito usually attacks during the night.
Chikungunya: Chikungunya and dengue have almost identical symptoms & disease processes. Chikungunya infects the muscle cells of the body. From there, it reproduces until the cell dies, and then replicates and finds a new host cell to infect.
Chikungunya: Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Malaria: Malaria fever keeps reoccurring in shorter duration and is accompanied with other symptoms like joint pain, vomiting, sweating, anaemia etc. Malaria usually occurs in the following stages: chills, heat and sweating.
Malaria: Malaria is examined by microscopic tests of the visuals of the virus.
Why is it so hard to diagnose chikungunya?
Acquiring an accurate diagnosis is very important to get the right treatment. A virus isolation is the most conclusive exam used to diagnose chikungunya. However, it takes 1 to 2 weeks before it is completed and should be done in a biosafety level 3 lab, which is not available in many developing countries where chikungunya is prevalent.The technique involves acquiring a blood sample from the patient and then introducing the virus to it. The blood sample will then be observed for specific responses.
RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) makes the genes of chikungunya more pronounced and shows evidence of the disease. The result can be obtained in 1-2 days. An ELISA assay can be used to measure the levels of himmunoglobin to identify the chikungunya virus. Results can be obtained within 2-3 days.
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