Chikungunya is a disease transmitted to humans by mosquitoes in Africa, Asia, and the Americas; sporadic outbreaks have been reported in other regions. Dengue and Zika have similar symptoms to chikungunya, making chikungunya easy to misdiagnose.
Chikungunya causes fever and severe joint pain, which is often debilitating and varies in duration; other symptoms include joint swelling, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. There is currently no approved vaccine or specific treatment for chikungunya virus infections. Due to the challenges in reporting and diagnosis, the number of people affected by chikungunya is underestimated. Severe symptoms and deaths from chikungunya are rare and usually related to other coexisting health problems.
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an RNA virus in the alphavirus genus of the family Togaviridae. The name chikungunya derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning “to become contorted
Chikungunya virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, most commonly Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti and Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus, which can also transmit dengue and Zika viruses. These mosquitoes bite primarily during daylight hours. They lay eggs in containers with standing water. Both species feed outdoors, and Ae. aegypti also feeds indoors.
When an uninfected mosquito feeds on a person who has CHIKV circulating in their blood, the mosquito can ingest the virus. The virus then replicates in the mosquito over several days, gets to its salivary glands, and can be transmitted into a new human host when the mosquito bites them. The virus again begins to replicate in this newly infected person and reaches high concentrations in their blood, at which point they can further infect other mosquitoes and perpetuate the transmission cycle.