Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It is caused by the chikungunya virus and is characterized by sudden fever and joint pain that can be severe and debilitating.
Causes and Risk Factors of Chikungunya
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It is caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV).
An infected person cannot directly transmit the virus to another person. The disease is spread when a mosquito feeds on a person with the virus circulating in their blood. The mosquito can pick up the virus and spread it to another person through its bite.
Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus.
Proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya.
Duration of Chikungunya
Complications of Chikungunya
Serious complications are not common, but occasionally infection can lead to serious problems of the skin, eyes, kidneys, heart, or nervous system.
Rare but serious complications include:
- Ocular disease (uveitis, retinitis)
- Acute renal disease
- Severe bullous lesions
- Neurologic disease such as meningoencephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myelitis, or cranial nerve palsies
Related Conditions of Chikungunya
The symptoms of chikungunya are similar to those of dengue and Zika, diseases spread by the same mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya. Chikungunya can be misdiagnosed in areas where the three diseases are common. Dengue fever is more lethal than chikungunya, and prompt recognition and treatment of it can be lifesaving.
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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)
A program of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), GARD offers reliable information on more than 6,500 conditions, including chikungunya. In addition to up-to-date information on the diseases, you can search a database of orphan drugs (treatments the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for rare diseases) to learn more about available treatments. If you can't find the information you are looking for on the site, you can contact one of their information specialists by phone or email for answers to your questions.
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
This patient advocacy organization has a mission to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by rare diseases, including chikungunya. On NORD's website, you will find detailed information about your disease or disorder as well as guidelines to help you locate an experienced specialist.
Additional reporting by Ingrid Strauch.
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
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