What you need to know about Chikungunya

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Chikungunya (pronunciation: \chik-en-gun-ye) virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.


  • No vaccine exists to prevent chikungunya virus infection or disease.

  • Prevent chikungunya virus infection by avoiding mosquito bites (see below).

  • The mosquitoes that spread the chikungunya virus bite mostly during the daytime.


Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

  • Use air conditioning or window/door screens 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.

  • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes outside your home or hotel room by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets.

  • When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

  • Use insect repellents

  • Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide long lasting protection.

  • 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.

  • Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent or sunscreen.


Transmission through Mosquito Bites

  • Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

  • Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime.

  • Chikungunya virus is transmitted rarely from mother to newborn around the time of birth.

  • To date, no infants have been found to be infected with chikungunya virus through breastfeeding. Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed even in areas where chikungunya virus is circulating.

  • In theory, the virus could be spread through a blood transfusion. To date, there are no known reports of this happening.



  • Most people infected with chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms.

  • Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

  • The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain.

  • Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

  • Chikungunya disease does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling.

  • Most patients feel better within a week. In some people, the joint pain may persist for months.

  • People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around 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, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.




  • The symptoms of chikungunya are similar to those of dengue, another disease spread by mosquitoes.

  • See your doctor if you develop the symptoms described above.

  • If you have recently traveled, tell your doctor.

  • Your doctor may order blood tests to look for chikungunya or other similar diseases.




  • There is no medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection or disease.

  • Decrease the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest

  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration

  • Take medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain.