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Chikungunya virus is carried by infected mosquitoes.  The virus causes high fever and severe joint pain that start suddenly.  It can also cause headache, muscle pain and rash.  Chikungunya virus rarely fatal, but the symptoms can be disabling, and some people may get severe complications.  There is no vaccine or specific medicines to prevent chikungunya virus.  Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to avoid chikungunya virus.

How is Chikungunya virus spread?

The virus is spread by bites from infected Aedes mosquitoes.  If a person is infected and bitten by a mosquito, that mosquito may later spread the virus by biting another person.

 Chikungunya Mosquito Types
 These mosquitoes can be identified by the white stripes on their black bodies and legs.  They are aggressive daytime biters, with peak feeding activity at dawn and dusk.

 

What are the symptoms?

  • Sudden onset of high fever (>102 F)
  • Severe joint pain mainly in the arms and legs
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • back pain
  • rash (~50% of cases)

Symptoms appear on average of 3 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.  Most patients feel better after a few days or weeks.  Some people may develop long-term pain.

Complications are rare, but more common in:

  1. Infants (<1 year)
  2. Elderly (>65 years)
  3. People with other chronic conditions such as: diabetes, hypertension, etc.

How is Chikungunya virus treated?

There is no vaccine or specific medicines to prevent chikungunya virus.  However, using medicines (other than aspirin) to lower your fever and joint pain may help.  Consult a health care provider.

How can I avoid becoming infected?

AVOID MOSQUITO BITES! The following will help reduce your chances of being bitten:

  • Drain standing water
  • Dress in long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Use mosquito repellent on exposed skin including: DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus.

CDC information page for Chikungunya

Chikungunya (printable handout)

Last updated: 7/7/2014 4:31:52 PM