Chikungunya

Chikungunya (pronunciation: chik-en-gun-ye) virus is vectored to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person that is already infected with the virus. The mosquitoes that spread chikungunya are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (these mosquitoes can also transmit other viruses i.e. Zika and dengue). In Alabama, reported cases of Chikungunya have occurred in people who have traveled outside of the state, and were infected by a mosquito before returning home.

For more about chikungunya in the U.S.: CDC Chikungunya in the United States

About Chikungunya Virus Infection

  • Chikungunya can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from fever and rash to headache, muscle pain and swelling.
  • The symptoms of chikungunya may last for several weeks.
  • Chikungunya is rarely fatal.
  • Because symptoms of chikungunya and dengue viruses are similar and they are spread by the same kind of mosquito, your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for additional infections.
  • In rare cases chikungunya can be transmitted from mother to child during or around the time of birth. (There are no documented cases of infants becoming infected through breast-feeding.)

Treatment 

  • There are no specific treatment medications for chikungunya.
  • There is no vaccine to prevent chikungunya.
  • Treatment for this virus includes getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol®) or paracetamol for pain and fever.
  • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until a dengue infection can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
  • If you have chikungunya, be careful to prevent mosquito bites for the first week of illness to prevent the virus being spread by a mosquito to another person.
  • If you believe you or a family member have been infected with chikungunya virus after travelling to an area where the virus is found, contact your healthcare provider and tell them what area you traveled to.
  • The best way to protect yourself from insect-transmitted disease is preventing the bite with repellants and proper clothing. For more information about preventing exposure to mosquito-borne disease: Avoid the Bite 

Detect, Test, and Report

 

The best preventive measure for residents living in areas infested with Ae. aegypti or Aedes albopictus is to eliminate the places where the mosquito lays her eggs, primarily artificial containers that hold water.

Items that collect rainwater or to store water (for example, plastic containers, 55-gallon drums, buckets, or used automobile tires) should be covered or properly discarded. Pet and animal watering containers and vases with fresh flowers should be emptied and cleaned (to remove eggs) at least once a week. This will eliminate the mosquito eggs and larvae and reduce the number of mosquitoes present in these areas. For more info on how to control mosquitos around your home visit Vector Control .

Using air conditioning or window and door screens reduces the risk of mosquitoes coming indoors. Proper application of mosquito repellents on exposed skin and clothing decreases the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. To learn more about insect repellents, visit this Environmental Protection Agency website: Insect Repellent Information from the EPA

Additional Resources

For questions or concerns regarding insect-borne disease in Alabama, see the Contact Us page, or email us at entomology@adph.state.al.us 





Page last updated: April 23, 2019