This nasty little virus infects its victims through mosquito bites. It causes fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headaches and skin rashes.
In a language spoken in Tanzania and Mozambique, ‘Chikungunya’ means ‘walking bent over’, which may result from severe joint pain.1
How do people catch the disease?
When they’re bitten by infected mosquitoes which carry the virus.3
Which countries are affected?
More than a hundred countries,3 including much of Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, India, China and many other areas of Asia and Southeast Asia (see map).
What are the symptoms?
Sudden onset of high temperature, pain in the joints and muscles, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.1
Symptoms usually appear 4-8 days after being bitten.
How serious is the disease?
Serious cases are not common and most people make a full recovery. But pain in the joints can last for months or even years1 and while symptoms can be treated, there is no known cure.
Can I reduce the chances of catching the disease?
You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:
- Visit your nearest convenient pharmacy or specialist travel health clinic for a risk assessment before your trip
- Take steps to avoid mosquito bites when mosquitoes are most active (during daylight hours)4
- Use a recommended insect repellent containing either 20% Picaridin (e.g Moskito Guard®), DEET or PMD5
- Wear appropriate clothing (e.g long-sleeved clothes and long trousers)4
1. World Health Organization. Factsheet. Chikungunya. April 2017. Available online: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs327/en/ (Last accessed September 2017)
2. World Health Organization. Chikungunya, countries or areas at risk in 2015. Available online: http://gamapserver.who.int/mapLibrary/Files/Maps/Global_Chikungunya_ITHRiskMap.png (Last accessed September 2017)
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Chikungunya Virus. Geographic Distribution. May 2016. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/geo/ (Last accessed September 2017)
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2018. Chapter 2 The Pre-Travel Consultation. Counseling & Advice for Travelers. Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Arthropods. May 2017. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods (Last accessed September 2017)
5. Public Health England. Mosquito bite avoidance for travellers. August 2017. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mosquito-bite-avoidance-for-travellers (Last accessed September 2017)
UK/TRA/0817/0171k September 2017