Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes that causes a sudden onset of fever and severe joint pain. Other signs and symptoms may include fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and rash. Signs and symptoms of chikungunya usually appear within two to seven days of being bitten by an infected mosquito.

There is no vaccine to prevent chikungunya fever, and there is no effective antiviral treatment. However, the course of the disease caused by infection with this virus is limited, and it rarely causes serious complications. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms with rest, fluids, and medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), to relieve joint pain and fever.

Where does the disease spread?
Chikungunya outbreaks were initially reported in Africa, Asia, Europe, and islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The first case of chikungunya was reported in the Americas in 2013 on islands in the Caribbean.

Since then, 1.7 million suspected cases of chikungunya have been reported in Caribbean islands, Latin American countries, and in the United States. There have also been reports of infections in Canada and Mexico.

How much anxiety should I be feeling?
Most people recover completely, with symptoms disappearing within three to 10 days. For some people, joint pain may last for months, or even years. Death from complications from chikungunya is very rare, but the virus sometimes causes severe problems, especially in older adults with other chronic diseases. It is likely that people who have been infected once will be protected from infection in the future.

If traveling to an area known to be chikungunya, take precautions. Because chikungunya is not transmitted from person to person, preventive measures focus on protecting against infected mosquitoes. Use insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET or picaridin, wear long-sleeved clothing and pants, and stay indoors or stay in places with window screens when possible.

And if you’re elderly or have a medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease, you’re more likely to develop severe disease. Consider avoiding travel to areas where the chikungunya virus is common.

When should I see a doctor?
Please see a doctor if you think you or a family member may have chikungunya virus, especially if you have recently traveled to an area where the virus is common. Your doctor may order blood tests for chikungunya virus or similar diseases. And if you are sick with chikungunya virus, avoiding new mosquito bites will help prevent the virus from spreading.

Key Facts
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that carry the disease caused by the Chikungunya virus.
Chikungunya virus infection causes fever and severe joint pain, and other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and the appearance of a rash.
Joint pain caused by the disease is often complex and varies in terms of how long you suffer from it.
There is currently no vaccine or specific antiviral drug, and treatment focuses on relieving symptoms of the disease.
Most cases are concentrated in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent, but a major outbreak broke out in 2015 in several countries in the Americas region, and sporadic outbreaks occurred in other regions.
The disease shares some of its clinical signs with dengue fever and Zika virus disease, and may be misdiagnosed as such in areas where these diseases are common.
Serious cases are very rare, and most deaths are caused by other existing health problems.
Due to the challenges faced in accurately diagnosing the disease, there are no actual estimates of the number of people infected with it annually around the world.
The presence of mosquito breeding sites close to people’s homes is a major risk factor for chikungunya.

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease whose characteristics were first demonstrated during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952. It is an RNA virus and belongs to the group of alphaviruses of the family Toxaviruses. The name “chikungunya” is derived from a word that means “to bend” in the Kimakonde language, and refers to the bending of people with pain in the joints due to the disease (joint pain).

Geographical distribution of chikungunya disease and its outbreaks
Chikungunya virus was first identified in Tanzania in 1952 and isolated over the next 50 years, causing outbreaks in Africa and Asia. The disease has spread rapidly since 2004 and continues to be detected in more than 60 countries throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

From 2004, an outbreak of the disease broke out in Kenya and spread to its vicinity in the Indian Ocean. In the following two years, nearly 500,000 cases were reported; On the island of La Reunion, more than a third of the population was infected with the disease. Then the epidemic spread from the Indian Ocean to India, where it continued for several years and infected nearly 1.5 million people. And virus-carrying travelers contributed to the spread of the virus in Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.

In 2007, local transmission of the disease was first reported in Europe as part of an outbreak centered in northeastern Italy, in which 197 cases were recorded. That outbreak confirmed that outbreaks transmitted by the Aedes spotted mosquito that transmit the disease can occur in Europe. In 2010, the virus continued to cause disease in Southeast Asia, and another outbreak was noted in La Reunion in the Indian Ocean. And again, travelers carrying the virus in their blood contributed to his delegations to Europe, as well as to the United States of America and Taiwan.

In 2013, the first documented outbreak of chikungunya was associated with transmission of chikungunya cases in the Region of the Americas; It started with two laboratory-confirmed original cases, then other original cases were reported in the French region of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin and soon spread throughout the region. In the same year, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported 72 cases, mainly concentrated in France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

In 2014, Europe bore the brunt of chikungunya, with 1,500 cases recorded, most of them also concentrated in France and the United Kingdom. France also confirmed 4 cases of locally acquired chikungunya infection in the south of the country. Late that year, outbreaks were reported in Pacific islands, including the Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, French Polynesia and Kiribati, and in the same year more than 1 million suspected cases were reported to the PAHO regional office.

In 2015, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported a decrease in chikungunya cases compared to 2014, when the number was limited to 624 cases. The WHO Regional Office for Africa recorded an outbreak of the disease in Senegal, which represents the first active circulation of the disease in the Region in five years. 693,489 suspected and 37,480 confirmed cases of PAHO were reported to the PAHO Regional Office in the Region of the Americas, with Colombia bearing the largest burden with 356,079 suspected cases, although the burden in the Region of the Americas was much lower than in the previous year.

In 2016, a total of 349,936 suspected and 146,914 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported to the PAHO Regional Office, representing half the burden compared to the previous year. The countries reporting the most cases were Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia (with around 300,000 suspected cases among them). Argentina reported the first evidence of indigenous transmission of chikungunya following an outbreak of more than 1,000 suspected cases. Kenya in Africa reported an outbreak of the disease with more than 1,700 suspected cases, while Mandera was severely affected in Somalia, where the disease affected about 80% of the population. The number of AIDS cases in India approached 65,000, and the number of cases recorded in Europe remained below 500.

In 2017, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported 584 cases in 10 countries in total, 84% of which were confirmed cases. Italy bore more than 50% of the burden of chikungunya. The original cases of the disease were again reported in Europe (France and Italy) for the first time since 2014.

As in previous years, Asia and the Americas were among the regions most affected by chikungunya. Pakistan witnessed a continuous outbreak of it that started the previous year, in which a total of 8,387 cases were reported, while India recorded about 62,000 cases. In the Americas and the Caribbean, 185,000 cases have been reported; Brazil accounted for more than 90% of cases in the Region of the Americas. Chikungunya outbreaks were also reported in Sudan (2018), Yemen (2019) and most recently in Cambodia and Chad (2020)