Blood tests for Chikungunya virus and rheumatoid arthritis reveal similar results

It has already wreaked havoc across the Caribbean, infecting hundred of thousands, if not millions in Dominica, Jamaica, and now Haiti. It is the before unheard-of-in-these-parts virus known as Chikungunya. While not in itself considered deadly, the ailment can prove so under certain circumstances, such as in a misdiagnosis. One of the best ways to arm oneself against this is to determine that you, indeed, have Chikungunya, which may be harder to do than you would think.


The issue lies in the fact that Chikungunya, like many other viruses, shares its symptoms with other illnesses. In this case, the similarity that is causing a problem for people wishing to be diagnosed and have their sickness named and thus treated, is between Chikungunya and rheumatoid arthritis. Not only are the symptoms similar, but the blood tests used to diagnose both ailments are known to reveal similar results.

The Chikungunya virus presents with a chronic inflammation of the joints that meets the diagnosis standards for rheumatoid arthritis established by the American College of Rheumatology. While in the earliest stages, Chikungunya will present with other symptoms that can more easily distinguish it such as a rash, fever and swollen lymph nodes. The chronic stage of the disease, with its prolonged and lone symptom of joint pain, makes it extremely difficult for doctors to differentiate between the two.

The information comes from a research study done at the school of medicine at Washington University. The study was conducted on eight patients, all of whom had contracted the virus in Haiti.

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