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Chikungunya

Questions and answers about chikungunya

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Chikungunya
Q1:

What is Chikungunya?

A:

Chikungunya (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) is an illness caused by chikungunya virus. It's spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. These are the same mosquitoes that spread other viruses like dengue and zika.

Q2:

How is Chikungunya transmitted?

A:

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime.

Q3:

What are the symptoms of Chikungunya infection?

A:
  • The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. 
  • Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. 
  • Symptoms usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. 
  • Chikungunya disease does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling.
Q4:

Where are people contracting Chikungunya?

A:

Chikungunya has been identified in 45 countries or territories throughout the Americas with more than 1.7 million suspected cases reported to the Pan American Health Organization. Currently, chikungunya is monitored by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch.

Q5:

Who is at risk of being infected?

A:

Anyone who is living in or traveling to an area where the virus is found is at risk for infection.

Q6:

What is the treatment for Chikungunya?

A:

There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya. If infected, you can treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids
  • Take over-the-counter drugs to reduce fever and pain
  • Don’t take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
Q7:

What can I do to prevent Chikungunya infection?

A:
  • No vaccine exists to prevent chikungunya virus infection or disease.
  • You can prevent chikungunya virus infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
  • The mosquitoes that spread the chikungunya virus bite mostly during the daytime.
Q8:

Should we be concerned with Chikungunya in the United States?

A:

Beginning in 2014, chikungunya virus disease cases were reported among U.S. travelers returning from affected areas in the Americas and local transmission was identified in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The U.S. mainland does have Aedes species mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread chikungunya virus. U.S. travelers who visit a country where chikungunya is found could become infected if bitten by a mosquito.

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