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Don’t travel down the same path as Lindsay Lohan

1/21/2015
Don’t get the same illness that Lindsay Lohan recently got. The actress and singer recently came down with chikungunya, a virus spread through mosquito bites. 
Chikungunya is a disease spread to humans through infected mosquitos. Most people recover after a few days, though in some cases, joint pain may last for weeks or months.

What countries is the virus in?

Once found only in parts of Africa, Asia and the tropics, the illness has spread to countries in Central and South America and in the southeastern United States.
There is no risk currently within Canada. The mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya are different from those we encounter in Canada. While they can be found outdoors, they are typically found indoors, in small numbers and bite during the daytime. 

How to prevent the virus

No vaccine or medication is currently available to prevent or treat the infection. The best way to reduce the risk is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Tips:
  • Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved, shirts and pants, closed-toe shoes and a hat.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin – available at the VCH Travel Clinic
  • Use a mosquito net – available at the VCH Travel Clinic
  • Empty or get rid of water-filled containers that might support mosquito breeding in the areas where you stay.
  • If possible, stay in a well-screened or completely enclosed air-conditioned room; otherwise, sleep under a bed net, preferably treated with insecticide.

How do I know I have it?

Symptoms include:
  • fever and joint pain
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • muscle pain
  • rash.
It can take up to 12 days for symptoms to show up, but they usually begin within three to seven days after being bit by an infected mosquito.

I think I might have it

If you develop these symptoms when you’re travelling or after you return, see a health care provider and tell them where you’ve been. For more information, read the Agency’s Travel Health Notice on chikungunya on the Travel.gc.ca website. 
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