Dengue vs Chickungunya
Infected by a mosquito carrying dengue fever about 7 years ago, I have just been victim of a viral infection again: chickungunya... it seemed interesting to me to deliver here my impressions, to compare the two diseases
Dengue and Chickungunya have three things in common:
❶ There is no vaccine, so it is impossible to protect yourself: the only protections are effective mosquito repellents.
❷ There is no treatment to treat these diseases: only paracetamol to lower the fever.
❸ both viruses are transmitted by mosquitoes carrying the virus and are not transmitted by humans
Three types of dengue fever (1 to 3), but only one type of Chikungunya...
For the record, when I found myself in consultation after being infected with the dengue virus, the doctor in front of me was speaking in quite incomprehensible English. Asians have a specific accent when they speak in a foreign language and it is sometimes very difficult to understand them, especially since in this case, this doctor to protect himself from germs wore a mask on his mouth, which was not done to improve comprehension, and when he told me that I had dengue fever, at first I didn't understand anything or at least I vaguely understood "You have Dengue Tai One". I listened to it without really understanding it and for me, it meant: "Dengue Taiwan".
Well, come on, I didn't know there was a "Taiwanese Dengue..."
In short, the doctor showed me what he had written and then, at last, I understood:
"Dengue Fever Type 1".
All this to say that sometimes in hospitals, it is not always easy to understand your interlocutor and that you have to get used to deciphering the words, the words, the accents of each other and be very vigilant. It should be noted that in this type of private hospital, there are often interpreters and that it is not necessary to hesitate to ask for their presence at the time of the interview with the doctor.
That being said, the two diseases have similarities... but these similarities are quite limited. We will say that they have similarities in the first hours, even in the first days and in the treatment... since there is no treatment!
The first symptoms...? of a fairly high fever around 39°. But just because you have a high fever doesn't mean you have to have Dengue or Chickungunya. A blood test is required.
Your fever outbreak can be a simple "cold" caught in a store that is too heavily air-conditioned. People here often tend to push the "climates" too hard and the big temperature differences between indoor and outdoor are real traps.
In most hospitals you will get the result of your blood test within minutes, at least for dengue fever.
As for Chickungunya, it would appear that a complementary test is required and your blood sample collected is transferred to Bangkok, which takes an additional two days. If the doctor sends your sample to Bangkok, it is because the chances of having dengue fever are only 50% or even 70% and it is only the next day that you will know which virus you are infected with.
Is that a tactic to try to get the patient hospitalized and bring money into the facility...? that's the whole point. Because during the two days of questioning, namely... do I have dengue fever, do I have chickungunya... we are in an embarrassing situation, we don't really know what to do.
Is it better to stay for observation, is it better to go home... it is clear that at that time, it is not necessarily obvious.
In my personal case, I found myself in this situation: my wife with the virus... we accepted an admission, and we saw what it might have cost for 3 days... a few days later, it was my turn to catch this cowardice, and there, with my very recent experience with my wife, I stayed straight at home.
But all this is not so easy....
Type 1 Dengue Fever - My Experience!
When I caught dengue fever a few years ago, I was obviously really screwed up. I had a fever, I was cold, in short the kind of moment we would gladly do without.
I was hospitalized in a single room and spent 6 days there, during which I was entitled to a daily blood test as soon as I woke up at around 6 a.m. Frankly, I've known better as an alarm clock.
These blood tests are quite useful in the sense that the level of platelets tends to drop quite a bit when you have this disease. This is therefore a point to watch out for, and the doctor warns you when you are admitted: be careful when shaving or brushing your teeth not to bleed.
Platelets have a very important role in coagulation. They are the ones that stop the bleeding. A normal platelet count in a healthy person is between 150,000 and 400,000 /mm3.
When the rate is too low, the risk of bleeding is higher.
You are also asked to watch the stool; there may be a small amount of bleeding, which is not really very good.
In short, if there is no treatment for Dengue fever, there are however specific points to watch out for, such as these platelets or risks of bleeding.
I only report here what I have been able to experience and know, namely Dengue type 1.
The other types 2 and 3 are much more serious and can be more dangerous.
For young children, hospitalization is strongly recommended even for type 1 dengue fever.
There have been several cases of young children who have died, but these cases have occurred in camps for workers living in fairly unhealthy barracks, within the rubber forest.... These people often do not have the reflex to go to a doctor and simply do not have the means. These are extreme cases.
After 5 days, my platelet count started to rise to a more normal level... which meant that I was on the road to recovery... as soon as I asked for my discharge form...
Post-Hospitalization period: 3 to 4 weeks of fatigue, no further sequelae.
A few days later... it was my daughter who was affected. Same reactions, same hospitalization, platelet monitoring, paracetamol treatment...
Chickungunya - Our Experience !
This time it was my wife's turn to meet at Bangkok Hospital, all feverish.
After a first blood test, the doctor, as already mentioned above, confirmed that there was only a 70% chance that it was a dengue infection and that... for more precision, it was imperative to send this sample to Bangkok for confirmation.
Not knowing what to do... we accept immediate admission. I don't have the reflex to ask for the price of the room... (big mistake)
● As with dengue fever... there is no treatment other than eating paracetamol to lower the fever.
It seems that this virus is less complicated than dengue virus. No problem with blood platelets. At the end of the 2nd day, the doctor who came to confirm the results of the analysis suggested to my wife that she be released the next day. She will have spent only 3 nights in the hospital for a very expensive bill: have a look here: Chickungunya's scam
A few days later my wife... it was me who found myself all feverish... but after the previous experience, I decided to stay at home and wait for it to pass: same treatment as in the hospital... some Paracetamol pills and my fever which dropped 2 days and a half later.
One could almost say.... Chickungunya point to the line... but... yes, there is a but...
After Chickungunya - My Experience !
All you have to do is go on the net and look for Chichungunya... you can find a lot of information... especially about the after-effects.
As for dengue fever, I personally have no sequelae (neither in the weeks following my hospitalization, nor in the years) and neither does my daughter.
On the other hand, as far as Chickungunya is concerned, the music is a little different.
I had read on the net that this virus developed more or less important pains in the joints, itching etc....
● Yes, I can confirm
Having knee problems (as a result of my sports activities as a younger child), I found myself stuck on my couch for 4 days, unable to get up and walk. Just what it took with a lot of effort to go to the bathroom.
There, anti-inflammatory treatment began... had to be relieved in some way or another. This big knee problem lasted about 4 days, then the pain gradually faded.
15 days later... I still have pain but much less in my knees, but also in my phalanges and wrists, a little in my neck too. Feeling tired too and some headaches.
Some itching: I tend to feel like scratching, but it's not to the point of being unbearable.
Given my experience, I would say that dengue fever is "easier" although it can be riskier in some cases.
It is better to consult to be sure... not necessarily to stay in care, but to be wary, especially for children...
No sequelae, we recover well after a few weeks and we tend to forget this bad moment.
Easier to treat immediately... Fever disappears after 2 or 3 days (depending on the individual). Hospitalization absolutely not necessary (except to keep the business running).
The after-chickungunya is more annoying. As explained above, we drag this out for a while. According to specialized sites, these small sequelae can last several months, several years...
Weeks and months have passed. I felt discomfort in my joints for about 3 months... but that, I think, must depend on the people...