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.
Most people infected with chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms. Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
Chikungunya disease does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. Most patients feel better within a week. In some people, the joint pain may persist for months.
People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, older adults and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
The symptoms of chikungunya are similar to Dengue and Zika, which is spread by the same mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya. The healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for chikungunya or other similar viruses like dengue and Zika.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus.
One must treat the symptoms: such as, to get plenty of rest, to drink fluids to prevent dehydration, to take medicine such as acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain, During the first week of infection, chikungunya virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.