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Chik-V and Me

Published:Tuesday | December 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Why does chik-V affect each person differently?

There are many reasons why the chikungunya virus may have different courses or outcomes in affected persons.   The significant factors are related to the virus, the affected person, social and cultural factors.

With regard to the virus, the important considerations include the ability of the virus to invade the tissues of the affected person and cause disease.  This or characteristic of the germ is called virulence.  Some germs produce chemicals that allow them to invade easily, while others like chikungunya uses another organism or vector to assist in invading the affected person.

Another important property of the virus is the capacity to hide or induce an immune response from teh affected person.

Some factors of the affected person that may cause variation in the severity of the disease include age (older persons and very young tend to do badly), gender, state of the immune response, the amount of virus invading the body, pregnancy, nutritional status, concomitant illnesses and genetic make-up...

Social factors may include access to health care, the availability and use of therapeutic drugs, lifestyle, environment and cultural beliefs.  Taken together, these factors will cause variability in the impact of chik-V on persons.

Prof Marvin Reid, director - Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, University of the West Indies, Mona, answers your FAQS.

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