Chikungunya Fever is a viral infection that is spread by mosquitoes in the tropical and subtropical regions, mainly in Africa and AsiaPacific. There have been a number of recent outbreaks including in the Caribbean, India and Singapore.
How is Chikungunya Fever Spread?
Chikungunya Fever is spread by daytime biting mosquitoes, the same mosquito that spreads other diseases including Dengue Fever. Travellers are at risk throughout the day with evening and dusk being particularly high.
Chikungunya Fever Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of Chikungunya Fever are very similar to that of Dengue Fever and it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the two illnesses. Chikungunya Fever causes flu-like symptoms including fever, muscle aches and pains, headache, nausea, fatigue and a rash. The illness can be very debilitating but most people who have Chikungunya Fever recover fully within about a week, however joint and muscle pain may last longer. Severe complications are rare, but it can cause neurological, heart and gastrointestinal problems, especially with older people.
Avoiding Chikungunya Fever
There is no vaccination for Chikungunya Fever and treatment for those with the illness is supportive only. Travellers are advised to practice mosquito avoidance measures in areas that are known to be at risk of Chikungunya Fever. Wear insect repellant such as DEET 50% and cover up any exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and long trousers. If you are sleeping during the day, sleep under a mosquito net and burn mosquito coils indoors.
Recent Outbreaks of Chikungunya Fever
April 2014: Outbreak in the Caribbean