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Chikungunya (say "chick-un-GOON-ya") fever is an illness caused by a virus that is carried by mosquitoes.
You're more likely to get this illness if you travel to parts of the world where it's more common. This includes parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia, and islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans. More recently, it has also been found in the Caribbean and the Americas.
Travelers can spread this illness. They may go on a trip and get bitten by a mosquito that has the virus. Then they get sick and come home. And if they are bitten again, they can spread the virus to mosquitoes in their home areas.
The mosquitoes that carry this disease bite during daylight hours.
The main symptoms are fever and very painful joints. The joint pain is often in the hands and feet. Symptoms usually start within a week after the bite.
Some people also have a headache, muscle pain, swollen joints, or a rash.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and any recent travel. He or she may order a blood test to make sure you don't have another problem.
There is no treatment for this illness. Symptoms usually go away on their own after about a week.
Treating your symptoms may help you feel better.
If your pain is very bad, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medicine. A few people have joint pain that lasts for months or even years.
Antibiotics won't help, because this illness is caused by a virus, not bacteria.
There is no vaccine to prevent chikungunya fever. But you can protect yourself from mosquito bites, especially when you travel.
The most current information about chikungunya fever is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). If you are planning international travel, you can learn about the risk of chikungunya in the area you're traveling to by contacting:
Other Works Consulted
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Chikungunya: Information for healthcare providers. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/CHIKV_Clinicians.pdf. Accessed January 6, 2015.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Chikungunya: What you need to know. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/Factsheet_Chikungunya-what-you-need-to-know.pdf. Accessed January 6, 2015.
Weaver SC, Lecuit M (2015). Chikungunya virus and the global spread of a mosquito-borne disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 372(13): 1231–1239. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1406035. Accessed April 7, 2015.
World Health Organization (2015). Chikungunya. Fact Sheet No. 327. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs327/en/. Accessed March 19, 2015.
Current as of: August 21, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineW. David Colby IV MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Current as of: August 21, 2019
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & W. David Colby IV MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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