Chikungunya virus infection (chikungunya) is caused by a virus that is spread by two types of mosquitoes:
Dengue mosquito (Aedes aegypti)
Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus)
Symptoms of chikungunya include:
fever, chills, headache and muscle pain
joint swelling, stiffness and pain, especially in the mornings
a rash, usually on the trunk or limbs that lasts for 7 - 10 days
a feeling of tiredness or weakness.
Symptoms usually develop about 7-10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Most people infected with the chikungunya virus recover in a few weeks. Some people might experience tiredness for many weeks and joint pain for many months.
Chikungunya is transmitted to people by mosquitoes infected with the Chikungunya virus. Symptoms include fever, rash and sore joints. The virus is mainly found in Africa, Asia, the Western Pacific and the Americas. Travellers to affected areas should avoid mosquito bites to prevent infection.
How is chikungunya spread?
People develop chikungunya virus infection after being bitten by a mosquito that is infected with the virus. Chikungunya is not spread directly from person to person.
Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on somebody who has the chikungunya virus in their blood. Once infected, the virus multiplies inside the mosquito and can infect other people when it bites them.
Who is at Risk?
Chikungunya virus occurs in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Western Pacific. People who travel to places where chikungunya occurs are at risk of infection if bitten by the types of mosquito that can spread the infection (Dengue mosquito or Asian Tiger mosquito).
Chikungunya can be more serious for:
older adults aged over 65 years
newborn babies infected around the time of birth
people with underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website includes a map indicating areas of risk for Chikungunya - here.
There is currently no vaccine against Chikungunya.
⚕️ Travellers can protect themselves from Chikungunya fever by preventing mosquito bites. People planning to visit Chikungunya-affected countries should seek advice from their doctor or a travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before departing.
Protect yourself against mosquitoes and the risk of diseases they transmit:
Cover up while outside - wear loose, long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing, covered footwear, and socks. Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing.
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin - Use 0.5% permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website includes details about how to use permethrin - here
Apply mosquito repellent evenly to all areas of exposed skin.
The most effective repellents contain picaridin, DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Natural or homemade repellents provide limited protection. Read the instructions to find out how often you should reapply repellent. Always apply sunscreen first and then apply repellent. Take special care during peak mosquito-biting hours.
The mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika will bite all through the day.
Stay and sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms
Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
Nets are most effective when they are treated with a pyrethroid insecticide, such as permethrin. Pre-treated bed nets can be purchased before travelling, or nets can be treated after purchase.
Avoid known areas of high mosquito-borne disease transmission or outbreaks.
Discover more about Chikungunya at the following sites:
General Travel Advice Disclaimer - here.