Don’t ignore that fever coupled with joint pain

When 62-year-old Syed Jamal woke up one morning with swollen ankles and severe pain in the joints, he assumed it to be some minor problem. Although he skipped his morning walk for two to three days, the pain did not subside. Added to that, he also developed fever and had to get hospitalised for two days. His doctor diagnosed it to be viral arthritis.

This Fraser Town resident is among the scores of patients that doctors are seeing with complaints of joint pain coupled with high fever. Half of the patients who have viral fever are complaining of severe joint pain, doctors say. Patients are having a tough time because swollen joints and arthritis-like symptoms are more troublesome than running temperature, doctors say.

Vijay K.R. Rao, consultant rheumatologist at Manipal Hospitals, says although symptoms are very similar to chikungunya, the infection is viral-arthritis. “The disease is both vector borne and air borne. It can spread by mosquito bite and also through air (when a patient coughs or sneezes in the vicinity of those who are not infected),” he says.

While most patients feel better within a week, in some people, the joint pain may persist for months. Viral arthritis is typically self-limiting and requires no specific intervention, although in rare cases, symptoms can prolong, he says.

B. Ramana Rao, a city-based general physician, said although viral arthritis cases are reported every year, this time the incidence is high. “Usually the pain is severe in parts of the body which were used the most by the recovering patients when they contracted the illness. For instance, if a person had walked a lot at the onset of fever he/she will suffer from swollen ankles. Many suffer from swollen finger joints as they would have type a lot around the time they fell ill,” Dr. Rao says.

Pointing out that last year the virus was mainly attacking blood vessels, he says this year, the virus attacks are around muscles and joints. “We advise patients to take plenty of fluids as dehydration can cause inflammation and pain in the joints, especially in the hands and knees,” he says.


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Printable version | Nov 20, 2021 3:17:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/dont-ignore-that-fever-coupled-with-joint-pain/article7775612.ece

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