Chikungunya virus is spread to people through mosquito bites and is not transmitted by direct person-to-person contact.
Most people infected with the virus will become symptomatic. The disease is most often characterized by acute onset of fever (typically 102°F or higher) and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. While the symptoms can be severe and disabling, death is rare.
Incubation period, but can range from 1-12 days.
Newborns, older adults, and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease are at an increased risk of a severe illness. Due to the similarity of symptoms and the possibility of coinfection, dengue should be considered as a differential diagnosis for anyone with suspected chikungunya infection.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Otherwise, alleviate symptoms by getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids to prevent dehydration, and taking medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain.
See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where chikungunya is found. Reviewing Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travel Advisories prior to traveling to chikungunya affected areas is advised.
Precautions when traveling
When traveling to countries where chikungunya virus (see map) or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found, take the following steps:
- Use insect repellents
- When used as directed, insect repellents are safe and effective for everyone, including pregnant and nursing women.
- Most insect repellents can be used on children. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus in children under the age of three years.
- Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide long lasting protection.
- If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
- Do not spray insect repellent on the skin under your clothing.
- Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.
- Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent or sunscreen.
- When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
- Help reduce the number of mosquitoes inside and outside your home or hotel room by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets.