Vision Loss Linked to Chikungunya Fever

Vision Loss & Chikungunya FeverA lot of things can contribute to vision loss –– aging, glaucoma, cataracts and now, chikungunya fever. Early last month, a woman from Atlanta who contracted chikungunya fever while in Grenada in July 2014 after being bitten by mosquitoes is now losing vision in her right eye.

During her visit to Grenada, the woman developed flu-like symptoms, such as joint pain, fever and muscle weakness in her face. Three weeks after she returned home, she noticed that she no longer had vision in the lower half of her right eye. While going to see the doctor, her right optic nerve swelled, which damaged her vision. The doctors prescribed her steroids, but they were not started soon enough to effectively treat her vision loss. Nearly half of the cells in the woman’s right optic nerve died during her visit at the clinic.

There has only been one person in the US to get chikungunya fever –– a man in Florida in July 2014. Visual loss has been linked to a late complication of infection with chikungunya if not treated in time.

Symptoms of Chikungunya Fever

When you are around mosquitoes, it is important to know the signs of chikungunya fever so that you can seek treatment as quickly as possible and reduce your chance of vision loss.

Common signs and symptoms of chikungunya fever include:

  • Abrupt fever accompanied by debilitating joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Fatigue

This virus has currently been identified in over 60 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas and is transmitted to humans by infected female mosquitoes.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend seeking medical treatment as quickly as possible. Concerned that your vision loss may be the result of a different issue or eye condition? Schedule an appointment at Raleigh Eye Center today.