Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne illness characterized by acute fever and swollen, painful joints. Other symptoms include headache, rash, muscle pain, and low white blood cells.
Chikungunya is transmitted by infected Aedes aegypti (yellow fever) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger) mosquitoes to humans. It has been reported in the Caribbean, Haiti, Central and South America, Africa, Southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Micronesia, and islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In July 2014, the first U.S. mosquito-transmitted cases were reported in Florida. In Oregon, chikungunya infection has been reported among travelers returning from the Caribbean, including Haiti.
Although there is no specific treatment or vaccine for chikungunya, there are effective methods to prevent infection. Aedes mosquitoes bite during both day and night. Use both physical (i.e., long sleeves, bed nets) and chemical (i.e., EPA-approved 20–30% DEET products) mosquito protective barriers. Contact your health care provider if you think you may have gotten chikungunya during your travels.
Chikungunya has the potential for ongoing transmission in the United States because infected humans could be reservoirs of the virus. People suspected of having chikungunya should diligently protect themselves from further mosquito exposure during the first week of illness to prevent ongoing transmission of the virus.