What is Chikungunya and how is it spread?

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.

The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. There is neither vaccine nor specific medication for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

Until recently the disease occurred mainly in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades mosquito vectors of chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas. In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first time in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy. In December 2013 the first case was reported in the Caribbean and within in 12 months there were an estimated 1 million cases and 11 cases of locally acquired chikungunya have been reported in Florida in 2014 (CDC).

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