| Risk Factors
Chikungunya is an infection spread by a bite from an infected mosquito.
Chikungunya is caused by a virus.
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The greatest risk factors for chikungunya are spending time in areas where chikungunya outbreaks have occurred, such as:
- Southern Europe
- Southeast Asia
- Islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
- Islands in the Caribbean Sea
In 2014, chikungunya was reported among US travelers returning from affected areas. Local transmission of chikungunya occurred in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
Symptoms begin 3-7 days after infection and may include:
- Joint pain, often in the hands and feet
- Joint swelling
- Muscle pain
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You will be asked whether you have recently travelled to areas where chikungunya outbreaks have occurred.
Your bodily fluids may be tested for the presence of the virus or antibodies. Antibodies are created by your body in response to an infection. The virus and antibodies can be found with blood tests. Other blood tests may be done to look for complications.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Antibiotics are not needed because the chikungunya is caused by a virus, not bacteria. The goal is to ease the symptoms so that you feel more comfortable while the immune system fights the virus.
Rest and medication will help manage symptoms until the virus has passed. Also, drink plenty of liquids to help keep nasal fluid thin and easy to clear.
Hospitalization may be required in severe cases to help manage symptoms.
To help reduce your chance of a chikungunya infection:
- If possible, avoid travel to areas where chikungunya outbreaks are occurring.
- Stay inside when mosquitoes are most active (at dawn and at dusk).
- Repair screens on your windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from getting into your house.
- Use proper mosquito netting at night. Look for netting treated with insecticide.
- When outside, wear insect repellent, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts to limit exposure to bites.
- Eliminate insect breeding areas. These may include areas of standing water, like pet water bowls, rain barrels, and other containers.
Chikungunya. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/CHIKV_FACTSHEET_CDC_Generalpublic(09-17-2014).pdf. Updated September 17, 2014. Accessed November 11, 2015.
Chikungunya. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs327/en. Updated May 2015. Accessed November 11, 2015.
Chikungunya fever. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T161709/Chikungunya-fever. Updated August 16, 2016. Accessed October 3, 2016.
Chikungunya fever (CHIK). Florida Health website. Available at: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/chikungunya/index.html. Accessed November 11, 2015.
Last reviewed November 2015 by David L. Horn, MD
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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