Chikungunya – Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

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What is Chikungunya?


Chikungunya is a virus that is spread through the bite of mosquitoes. Some of the common symptoms of Chikungunya are joint pain and fever. A person may also experience the symptoms like headache, muscle pain, rash and swelling. This disease rarely causes death, and the symptoms can be severe, long-lasting and dangerous.  

As of now, there is no certain vaccine or medicine for the treatment of Chikungunya. The only way to protect from Chikungunya is to stay away from mosquito bites. To prevent the infection of the Chikungunya virus, make sure to use Mosquito repellants, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and stay in air-conditioned places.

Where was it found?  

Chikungunya virus first originated in a place called Tanzania in 1952. However, the outbreak of Chikungunya was majorly reported in Africa, Asia, the Indian and Pacific oceans and Europe. Chikungunya became endemic in the continent of Asia and Africa.  

Causes and risks of Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a disease caused by the virus called ‘CHIKV’. In general, a person affected by Chikungunya cannot help in the transmission of the virus from one person to the other person. This virus can be spread only through the bite of a Mosquito, and it is not a contagious disease.  

It is said that Chikungunya is spread by the mosquitoes named Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. The interesting fact is these mosquitoes are also responsible for the transmission of Dengue fever.

Symptoms of Chikungunya  

Symptoms of chikungunya

The virus causes a fever and joint pain that can last for days, weeks and months. The symptoms of Chikungunya are similar to diseases like Dengue fever. Symptoms usually show up 3-8 days after the mosquito bite.  

Some of the common symptoms are:

Diagnosis of Chikungunya

If you experience high fever and joint pain, it is very crucial to consult a doctor as your doctor may insist you on blood tests to check whether the fever is due to Chikungunya or other diseases.  

Your doctor can check the presence of Chikungunya by the following methods.

Serological tests 

Tests like Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA) help to confirm the presence of IgM and IgG anti-Chikungunya antibodies.

It is very hard to finalise the presence of Chikungunya only by examining its symptoms. A blood test is widely preferred to diagnose the Chikungunya easily. When testing Chikungunya, it is important to rule out Dengue fever first because of its higher mortality rate.

When to see a doctor? 

When you get to know you have a fever above 104°F and consistent joint pain, then it may be a sign of Chikungunya. In general, people with a strong immune system who are affected by Chikungunya may recover from the CHIKV virus within 3 to 10 days. But doctor consultation is mandatory even if it shows a minuscule level of symptoms for Chikungunya.

Treatment for Chikungunya 

Death due to Chikungunya is rare, but the disease can cause severe symptoms. In most cases, people who are affected by Chikungunya usually recover from the disease maximum within 10 days but may face joint problems for months and years.

There is no particular antiviral drug available to treat Chikungunya. Treatment can be beneficial in lowering the intensity of Chikungunya symptoms.

In general, Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications like Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Acetaminophen are used to lower the symptoms of Chikungunya.

Other treatments for Chikungunya include Antipyretics and Analgesics to mitigate pain and fever, drinking fluids and take enough rest.

Until ruling out Dengue, Chikungunya suspected people are not advised to intake medications like aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

After confirming Chikungunya, patients are allowed to use non-steroidal drugs and corticosteroids.

Chikungunya vaccine

There is no commercial vaccine or antiviral treatments available for controlling Chikungunya. Chikungunya is a fatal disease for low-immunity people and also a short-lived disease of the body. However, the making of the Chikungunya vaccination is still an ongoing process with numerous clinical trials. It may take some indefinite time to process, license and then bring into the market to the public.

Complications of Chikungunya

Some of the important consequences of Chikungunya include:

  • Uveitis – An Eye inflammation that affects the middle layer of eyewall tissues.
  • Retinitis – Retina Inflammation
  • Myocarditis – It is an inflammation caused in the heart’s muscle. This majorly reduces the heart’s ability to pump.
  • Hepatitis – Liver inflammation
  • Nephritis – Kidney inflammation
  • Haemorrhage – Bleeding
  • Meningoencephalitis – Inflammation of the brain and surroundings caused by inflammation.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome – A type of syndrome where the body’s strong immune system attacks its own nervous system.
  • Myelitis – Spinal cord inflammation
  • Cranial nerve palsies – Loss of function in cranial nerves

Prevention of Chikungunya 

prevention of chikungunya

As of now, there are no preventive drugs for Chikungunya. The only way to protect from Chikungunya is to protect from mosquito bites.  

You can follow the below guidelines for preventing Chikungunya:

  • Wear protective clothing like clothes with long sleeves, long pants and other clothes that cover the exposure of skin.
  • Try to use insect repellents on skin and other clothing.
  • Make mosquito nets in your room that may protect you from mosquitoes.
  • Use Insecticide near your home so that mosquito production will be less and your chances of getting affected by Chikungunya will dramatically reduce.
  • Avoid overseas travel and restrict travelling to countries that are more affected by Chikungunya cases.
  • Use mosquito coils and Insecticide vaporisers.
  • Avoid mosquitoes. Chikungunya is rarely fatal, and symptoms can be severe if left untreated at the early stage.

Summing up

Avoiding mosquito bites is the only efficient way of preventing Chikungunya from the body. There was a deplorable time when Chikungunya spread like fire, and most of the low immunity people lost their life. It took an unparalleled effort to mitigate the spread of the Chikungunya virus. We cannot recover from this daunted virus just by killing the mosquito in masses. Building a robust immune system is the best way of protecting yourself not only from Chikungunya but also from all diseases.  

What are the 3 symptoms of Chikungunya fever?

Repeated fever, joint pain and headache are said to be some of the important symptoms of Chikungunya.

How long does Chikungunya last in your body?

People who are affected by mild symptoms of Chikungunya typically recover from the virus within 3 to 10 days. Death due to Chikungunya is very rare, and some people may feel joint pain for days, months or sometimes years.

What is the main cause of Chikungunya? 

The main cause of Chikungunya is due to the virus called Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), which is spread through mosquitoes. These viruses cause severe joint pain and fever in the body.

Can Chikungunya be cured?

No. Chikungunya cannot be cured, but the symptoms associated with Chikungunya can be treated via treatments and medications. No vaccine has been invented to cure the Chikungunya virus. Chikungunya is a short-lived virus, and most people recover on their own without external treatments.

Can you get Chikungunya twice?

In most cases, Chikungunya does not appear again after the first infection. After the infection, your body develops strong antibodies, which are more than enough to prevent Chikungunya again.

Which is worse Dengue or Chikungunya? 

Both diseases are threatening diseases if not treated well. Dengue and Chikungunya are caused due to mosquito bites. In both diseases, people experience indefinite body and joint pain during the disease.

How can I recover from Chikungunya’s pain?  

You can speed up the recovery from Chikungunya in the following ways:
· Eat healthy food and get good sleep
· Prevent your body from getting dehydrated.
· Take appropriate medications suggested by the doctors to control the impact of Chikungunya symptoms.  
Make sure to avoid Anti-inflammatory drugs.

Which fruit is good for Chikungunya?

If you are infected by Chikungunya, take fruits like bananas, citrus fruits, papaya, apple and pear for fast recovery.

How do you get rid of joint pain from Chikungunya?

If you feel joint pain very often, even after recovering from Chikungunya, perform Aerobic exercises like stretching. Also, apply coconut oil to your joint, particularly on the area you feel the pain. This practice may give temporary relief to your joints.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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