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Chikungunya

Chikungunya is an illness caused by chikungunya virus, and its transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection.

Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean.

There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1:

What is Chikungunya?

A:

Chikungunya (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) is an illness caused by chikungunya virus. It's spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. These are the same mosquitoes that spread other viruses like dengue and zika.

Q2:

How is Chikungunya transmitted?

A:

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime.

Q3:

What are the symptoms of Chikungunya infection?

A:
  • The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. 
  • Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. 
  • Symptoms usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. 
  • Chikungunya disease does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling.
Q4:

Where are people contracting Chikungunya?

A:

Chikungunya has been identified in 45 countries or territories throughout the Americas with more than 1.7 million suspected cases reported to the Pan American Health Organization. Currently, chikungunya is monitored by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch.

Q5:

Who is at risk of being infected?

A:

Anyone who is living in or traveling to an area where the virus is found is at risk for infection.

Q6:

What is the treatment for Chikungunya?

A:

There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya. If infected, you can treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids
  • Take over-the-counter drugs to reduce fever and pain
  • Don’t take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
Q7:

What can I do to prevent Chikungunya infection?

A:
  • No vaccine exists to prevent chikungunya virus infection or disease.
  • You can prevent chikungunya virus infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
  • The mosquitoes that spread the chikungunya virus bite mostly during the daytime.
Q8:

Should we be concerned with Chikungunya in the United States?

A:

Beginning in 2014, chikungunya virus disease cases were reported among U.S. travelers returning from affected areas in the Americas and local transmission was identified in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The U.S. mainland does have Aedes species mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread chikungunya virus. U.S. travelers who visit a country where chikungunya is found could become infected if bitten by a mosquito.

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Within the U.S. Armed Forces considerable effort has been applied to the prevention and treatment of vector-borne diseases. A key component of that effort has been the surveillance of vector-borne diseases to inform the steps needed to identify where and when threats exist and to evaluate the impact of preventive measures. This report summarizes available health records information about the occurrence of vector-borne infectious diseases among members of the U.S. Armed Forces, during a recent 7-year surveillance period. For the 7-surveillance period, there were 1,436 confirmed cases of vector-borne diseases, 536 possible cases, and 8,667 suspected cases among service members of the active and reserve components. •	“Confirmed” case = confirmed reportable medical event. •	“Possible” case = hospitalization with a diagnosis for a vector-borne disease. •	“Suspected” case = either a non-confirmed reportable medical event or an outpatient medical encounter with a diagnosis of a vector-borne disease. Lyme disease (n=721) and malaria (n=346) were the most common diagnoses among confirmed and possible cases. •	In 2015, the annual numbers of confirmed case of Lyme disease were the fewest reported during the surveillance period. •	Diagnoses of Chikungunya (CHIK) and Zika (ZIKV) were elevated in the years following their respective entries into the Western Hemisphere: CHIK (2014 and 2015); ZIKV (2016). The available data reinforce the need for continued emphasis on the multidisciplinary preventive measures necessary to counter the ever-present threat of vector-borne disease. Access the full report in the February 2018 MSMR (Vol. 25, No. 2). Go to www.Health.mil/MSMR  Background graphic shows service member in the field and insects which spread vector borne diseases.

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