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Chikungunya

(Chikungunya fever)

How to Say It: Chik-en-gun-yuh

Definition

Chikungunya is a virus spread by an infected mosquito. Most people recover. Some may have severe or lasting symptoms.

Causes

Chikungunya virus causes the infection. It is passed to people from the bite of an infected mosquito. It cannot be passed from one person to another.

Virus

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Risk Factors

The risk of getting the virus is highest in areas where outbreaks have happened, such as:

  • Africa
  • Southeast Asia
  • Southern Europe
  • Islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
  • Caribbean islands

In 2014, chikungunya occurred in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Symptoms

Symptoms begin 3 to 7 days after infection and may include:

  • High fever
  • Severe joint pain
  • Rash
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Red, irritated eyes

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms, health, and travel history. A physical exam will be done.

Blood tests may be done. They will look for the virus and antibodies. Antibodies are substances the body creates when infected. Other blood tests may be done to look for problems.

Treatment

The goal is to treat the symptoms. Hospital care may be needed if symptoms are severe. Treatment options are:

  • Rest
  • Medicines to ease symptoms, such as:
    • Acetaminophen—to control fever
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)—to control pain
    • Short-term narcotics or corticosteroids—sometimes used for severe pain

Prevention

The risk of a chikungunya infection may be lowered by:

  • Avoiding travel to areas with outbreaks
  • Avoiding mosquito bites by:
    • Covering up the skin
    • Using bug sprays, netting, and screens
RESOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https//www.cdc.gov

World Health Organization
http://www.who.int

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

International Center for Infectious Diseases
https://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Chikungunya. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/CHIKV_FACTSHEET_CDC_Generalpublic(09-17-2014).pdf. Accessed March 30, 2021.

Chikungunya fever (CHIK). Florida Health website. Available at: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/chikungunya/index.html. Accessed March 30, 2021.

Chikungunya fever. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chikungunya-fever . Accessed March 30, 2021.

Chikungunya. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs327/en. Accessed March 30, 2021.

Vairo F, Haider N, et al. Chikungunya: epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, management, and prevention. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2019;33(4):1003-1025.

Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 3/30/2021