Chikungunya Virus: Symptoms, Risks, Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 17 May 2022

Table of Contents:

  1. Chikungunya
  2. Symptoms
  3. Treatment
  4. Risks


Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a mosquito borne virus that causes chikungunya. It cannot be passed on from one person to the next.

Chikungunya has been recorded in up to 60 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, but it is uncommon in the United States. Since 2016, only 175 cases have been registered, all of which included people who had visited the affected areas.

 

Symptoms

Chikungunya symptoms typically appear 3 to 7 days after being bitten. Below are a list of common symptoms: 

  • Fever 
  • Joint pain 
  • Headache 
  • Nausea 
  • Rash
  • Fatigue

It can be difficult to tell whether you have chikungunya because it can resemble other mosquito borne illnesses like dengue fever or the Zika virus.

If you have these symptoms and have recently visited a location where there has been an outbreak, see your doctor. They'll most likely take a sample of your blood to see if your body is battling the infection.

Treatment

Chikungunya has no effective treatment. The majority of people improve on their own and recover fully. Many of the symptoms go away after a week, but joint pain can last for months. Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help with that, as well as any fever you might be experiencing. You should also drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest.

The virus is normally more severe in newborns, people over 65, and people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms and falls into one of these categories, please contact your doctor right away.

 

Risks

If you're going to a place where there's a mosquito outbreak, there are several things you can do to reduce the chances of getting bitten:

  • Long sleeved shirts and long trousers are recommended.
  • Stay in screened-in areas or indoors where air conditioning is available.
  • If you're staying somewhere without air conditioning or window screens, make sure you have a mosquito net over your bed.
  • If you go outside without sleeves, use a DEET-based mosquito repellent. Put on your sunscreen first if you need to.
  • Remove any standing water in your home or hotel room, such as flower pots.

If you have already had chikungunya once, you are unlikely to catch it again.

 

Sources

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