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Chikungunya illustration

What is chikungunya?

This nasty little virus infects its victims through mosquito bites. It causes fever and severe joint pain. It can also cause headaches, muscle pain, nausea, fatigue and skin rashes.

Chikungunya illustration

Risk areas for Chikungunya

Map of risk areas for Chikungunya
  • Key fact

    In a language spoken in Tanzania and Mozambique, ‘Chikungunya’ means ‘walking bent over’, which may result from severe joint pain.1

  • How do you get chikungunya?

    When you’re bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus. These mosquitoes may also be carrying other viruses such as Dengue Fever.3

  • Which countries are affected by chikungunya?

    Cases have been reported in over a hundred countries,2 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 of chikungunya?

    Sudden onset of fever, pain in the joints and muscles, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain can be debilitating.1

    Symptoms usually occur between 4 and 8 days after being bitten but can occur between 2 and 12 days, therefore you may start to feel ill when you are back home after your trip.1

  • How serious is chikungunya?

    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 for the infection.

  • Can I prevent getting chikungunya?

    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
    • Use a recommended insect repellent containing either Picaridin, DEET, PMD or OLE, IR3535 or 2-undecanone4
    • Wear appropriate clothing (e.g loose fitting long-sleeved clothes, long trousers, socks and shoes) to minimise exposed skin5
    • Use mosquito nets if you are sleeping or resting in unscreened accommodation or sleeping outdoors during the day or night5

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  1. World Health Organization. Fact sheets. Chikungunya. September 202o. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chikungunya Virus. Geographic Distribution. November 2020. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chikungunya Virus. Transmission. December 2018. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2020. Chapter 3 Environmental Hazards & Other Noninfectious Health Risk, Mosquitoes, Ticks & Other Arthropods. July 2019. Available online:  (Last accessed May 2021)
  5. Public Health England. Mosquito bite avoidance for travellers. August 2017. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)

UK-BOTB-2100013 May 2021