Chikungunya is a viral disease (genus Alphavirus) which is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes – including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The name chikungunya originates from a verb in the Kimakonde language, meaning ‘to become contorted’. This refers to the ‘stooped’ appearance of those suffering with joint pain.
Symptoms appear between 4 and 7 days after the patient has been bitten by the infected mosquito and these include:
- High fever (40°C/ 104°F)
- Joint pain (lower back, ankle, knees, wrists or phalanges)
- Joint swelling
- Muscle pain
Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. Chikungunya can be detected using serological tests. Recovery from an infection will confer life-long immunity.In areas where the vector of chikungunya is Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, vector prevention and control can be combined with dengue control efforts. Currently as such no major vaccine is available against the disease.