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- Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people from the bite of an infected mosquito.
- Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on a person already infected with the virus.
- Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.
- Chikungunya virus is spread by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes which are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue and Zika viruses.
- These mosquitoes bite during the day and also at night.
Who is at risk?
- Prior to 2013, chikungunya virus outbreaks were identified in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
- In 2013, the first local transmission of chikungunya virus in the Americas was identified in the Caribbean countries and territories. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with the virus and are spreading it to people.
- Since 2013, local transmission has been detected in 45 countries or territories throughout the Americas.
- In the U.S., beginning in 2014, local transmission of chikungunya virus was identified in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- In Michigan, chikungunya cases have occurred among Michigan residents returning from areas where the chikungunya virus is present.
Signs and Symptoms
What are the signs and symptoms of chikungunya virus infection?
- The majority of individuals that are infected with chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms.
- Typically symptoms will begin 3-7 days after an infected mosquito bites you.
- The most common symptoms include fever and joint pain.
- Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
- Death from chikungunya is rare.
- Most people feel better within a week, but joint pain can be severe and disabling and may persist for months.
- People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected near the time of birth, older adults (>65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
- Once a person has been infected, they are likely to be protected from future infections.
Diagnosis and Testing
How is chikungunya virus diagnosed?
- See your healthcare provider if you have visited an area where chikungunya is found and have symptoms. Tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
- Your healthcare provider may order blood tests in order to look for chikungunya or other similar viruses such as dengue and Zika.
How is chikungunya virus treated?
- There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus.
- Symptoms can be treated by getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids to prevent dehydration, taking medicine such as acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain. DO NOT take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue virus infection can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding. If you are taking medicine for other reasons, consult with your medical provider before taking additional medication.
- If you have chikungunya, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness. During the first week of infection, chikungunya virus can be found in the blood and can be passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. Then the infected mosquito can spread the virus to other people.
How can chikungunya be prevented?
- No vaccine exists to prevent chikungunya virus infection or disease.
- If you are planning a trip, click here to see if the country you plan to visit has any travel health notices.
- The best way to prevent chikungunya infection is to avoid mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that spread chikungunya virus bite during the day and at night.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Mosquito Bites:
- Prevent mosquito bites by using EPA approved insect repellents including:
- Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
- Find the right repellent using the EPA's search tool
- Use air conditioning or window/door screen to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
- When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.
- Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.
Data and Statistics