What is chikungunya?


Know the basics

What is chikungunya?

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Infected patients usually suffer from the sudden onset of fever and severe joint pain.

Chikungunya virus was first indentified during an outbreak in 1952 in Tanzania. It is a Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) virus that belongs to the alphavirus genus of the family Togaviridae.

How common is chikungunya?

Chikugunya has been identified in over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. It affects people at any age, any gender. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of chikungunya?

The common symptoms of chikungunya fever are:

  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Rash

The symptoms usually appear between 4 and 8 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue and Zika, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where these conditions are common.

Chikungunya fever does not cause death, but its symptoms may become chronic.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

See your doctor if you think you or a family member may have chikungunya, especially if you have recently traveled to an area where there’s an ongoing outbreak.

Know the causes

What causes chikungunya?

Chikungunya fever is caused by chikungunya virus infection. The viruses are transmitted between infected mosquitoes and human, between infected human and healthy human through mosquitoes.

Rarely, chikungunya virus can be spread from mother to newborn around the time of birth. Breastfeeding does not transmit viruses.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for chikungunya?

There are many risk factors for health condition, especially if you:

  • Live in tropical nations.
  • Return from outbreak areas.
  • Live in areas with bad hygiene.

If you are an older adult or have certain conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease, you are at high risk of contracting the disease.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is chikungunya diagnosed?

The symptoms of chikungunga fever is very similar to dengue and Zika. This makes physical diagnosis unable to detect the exact cause of disease. To determine if patients are infected with Chikungunya virus, doctors need to perform blood tests.

How is chikungunya treated?

There is no vaccine or cure for chikungunya virus. The treatment only can reduce the symptoms of the fever. If you have chikungunya fever, doctors usually require you to get plenty of rest, drink more fluids to prevent dehydration, and avoid mosquito bites.

To reduce the pain and fever, you will be prescribed with medicine such as acetaminophen or paracetamol. You must not take other medicines without doctor’s permission, especially aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

If you are taking medicine for another health condition, you should talk to the doctor or healthcare provider.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage chikungunya?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you decrease the risks of chikungunya fever:

  • Keep mosquitoes outside by using air-conditioner or closing door/window.
  • Empty water from containers such as buckets or flowerpots.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use insect repellents with instructions of healthcare providers.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: June 27, 2019

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