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Chikungunya virus

Oklahoma Update – October 16, 2014

The laboratory-confirmed cases of Chikungunya in Oklahoma residents were adults who either travelled to the Caribbean for mission/humanitarian aid trips or for vacation.  These cases highlight the importance of taking preventive measures against mosquito exposure for those traveling to the Caribbean.  Please see below for more information on the Chikungunya virus and mosquito exposure prevention tips.

Chikungunya (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) is a viral disease.  Chikungunya cases have been reported in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania/Pacific Islands, and the Americas.  Beginning in late 2013, outbreaks have been reported in the Caribbean Islands.  Chikungunya virus is not currently found in the United States; however, cases are occurring among persons who travel outside the U.S. to affected areas, including travel related to tourism, visiting family and friends, mission trips, peace corps, etc.

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites.  Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.  Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.  These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus.  They bite mostly during the daytime.  Chikungunya is not spread from person to person.

The majority of people infected with chikungunya virus become symptomatic.  Symptoms usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.  The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain.  Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.  Chikungunya disease does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling.  Most patients feel better within a week.  In some people, the joint pain may persist for months.  Persons at risk for more severe disease include neonates (aged <1 month) exposed intrapartum, older adults (>65 years), and persons with underlying medical conditions (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease).

Prevention

There is no vaccine or preventative drug available for chikungunya.  The best was to prevent infection is to avoid mosquito bites while traveling to areas with chikungunya virus.  Mosquito exposure prevention tips while traveling to affected areas include:

  • Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.  If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
  • Use mosquito repellents according to instructions.
  • If weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes outside your home or hotel room by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets.

Fact Sheets and Resources:

Chikungunya (467k.pdf)

Mosquito Bite Prevention Infographic

Mosquito Repellent Infographic

External chikungunya resources:

General information about chikungunya virus and disease (CDC)

Chikungunya information for clinicians (CDC)

Chikungunya statistics in the Americas and technical guidelines (PAHO) 

Number of Reported Cases of Chikungunya in the Americas (PAHO)

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