Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a potentially life-altering disease caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV).

Areas of risk

Over 3/4 of the world’s population lives in areas at risk of CHIKV

The areas of greatest risk for travellers are thought to be the Americas, parts of Africa, and Southeast Asia.

As reported in 2014, the majority of provinces in Canada have identified at least one imported case of travel-related chikungunya. Sporadic outbreaks have been reported in other regions.

This surge in Canadian infections has been associated with the incursion of CHIKV into the Caribbean and its expansion in the Americas. Ongoing outbreaks in the Asia-Pacific region have also contributed to imported cases among Canadian travellers.

Key facts

The name “chikungunya” comes from the word for “becoming contorted” in the African Kimakonde language, and describes the stooped appearance of those who suffer from persistent joint pain related to this disease.

CHIKV causes large, intense, and unpredictable outbreaks with high attack rates.

When there is an outbreak, up to 3/4 of the population in the area can be affected.

prevention guidance

As of September 2020, there were more than 3 million reported cases in the Americas alone.

There may be more. Due to its non-specific presentation, chikungunya is commonly misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.

A disease that lingers

of CHIKV patients suffer from chronic chikungunya—where joint pain, fatigue, and potentially debilitating effects (e.g., depression, mood and sleep disorders) may last from months to years. Many who experience severe infection never fully recover.

Chikungunya at a glance

Primary vector

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus

Biting habits:

  • Primarily daytime
  • Can also bite at night

Symptoms

Most common:

  • Fever
  • Joint pain

Other:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Rash

Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after being bit by an infected mosquito.

Help reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases dampening your travel experience. Learn more by speaking to your healthcare professional, such as a doctor or pharmacist, or visiting a travel clinic, before your next trip.