Recovery to (possible) Chikungunya Fever

Last Updated on June 3, 2023 by Ellen

I couldn’t jog today because my knees were sick. One was sicker than the other.

This joint pain started nearly two months ago. I developed a sudden, high fever, along with joint pain, red eyes, pain behind my eyes, incredible headache and sheer exhaustion. Eventually, after a few days, I also had a slight rash.

A doctor in Tulum, Mexico, declared I had a classic case of Chikungunya. The mosquito virus had been well-established in the area, and she’d already seen many cases of the virus.

About five weeks after the onset of symptoms, I had a return fever that lasted about 24 hours. I have gotten one tiny spot of rash that returned, on my fingertip, and that lasted two days.

These days, I often have a stiff neck. Occasionally, I have some joint pain. Usually the pain is in my hands, but twice now, my knee was so sore it nearly gave out. The pain is dull and acute at the same time. Both knees feel achy, but only the left one also has acute pain.

Both times, I woke up with the bad knee pain. The first time, it disappeared overnight and was completely gone the next day. The second time, which ironically was today, it lasted about the same – 24 hours. It started last night, and was awful throughout the overnight hours and the entire day. About an hour ago, it simply disappeared. And now my knee feels virtually fine. I just stood up to walk across the room and there is only a slight, dull ache.

Luckily, these days my energy level appears to be mostly steady most days. There are many people who seem to have more intense lasting symptoms with ChikV, like this young woman, who kept a detailed log of her extensive symptoms.

I am a mosquito magnet. I try to lower my risk by taking all the usual precautions, like using repellent and staying inside at dawn and dusk. But since I’m traveling and living in the tropics, the reality is – I get bit by these awful creatures several times a week.

Eventually, when I’m around decent medical facilities, I will have another blood test, because I’d really, really like to know which virus got me – through lab proof instead of an educated guestimate, even if that guess is based on vast experience. (No offense, doc.)

If knee pain keeps me from jogging now and then, I can live with that. I’d rather have whatever this is – than get Dengue, which can be fatal. Hopefully, I will feel up for a jog tomorrow.

I write this to help anyone else suffering through a Chikungunya diagnosis. As ChikV and Zika start to grab more international attention now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel warning, I am seeing more internet traffic land here because people are searching for terms like Zika, Tulum, Chickungunya and more.

Side note, I’ve been following the news on Zika since November, long before it hit mainstream media in the states. It’s so new in Mexico, they weren’t even testing for it yet. But this is another virus that is clearly dreadful.

I think, in my humble opinion, the CDC should have issued a travel warning for women well before now. Again – my opinion. It’s not to alarm people, but to give women every possible shred of knowledge they can have for their unborn babies. Tourism-reliant economies be damned.

Maybe now that these damned mosquito viruses are getting into the U.S., this will motivate big pharma to put more effort in developing vaccinations.

3 thoughts on “Recovery to (possible) Chikungunya Fever”

  1. Oh man, Ellen. I’m sorry to hear your dealing with this (or some sort of) virus! Of course I’ve been hearing a lot about the Zika virus in the news and agree they should have put more emphasis on this earlier. It is sad that the threat would have to reach the U.S. before attempts at a vaccine are made, but hopefully they will be made and prevent more outbreaks.

    1. Thanks, Ashlee! I’m just so grateful it isn’t worse. I’m wondering if the Zika virus mutated, and is better able to spread. And I’m so saddened for the babies born with smaller heads. They likely will have difficult lives.

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