Chikungunya fever is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the
bite of infected mosquitoes. Chikungunya virus is a member of the
genus Alphavirus, in the family Togaviridae. Chikungunya fever is
diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., joint
swelling), laboratory testing, and the possibility of exposure to
was first detected in 1953 in Tanzania. Since then it has emerged as
one of the main causes of disease outbreaks among human populations
in African and Asian countries and of late affecting several
locations in Europe. It is currently endemic in most countries in
the Sub Saharan region in Africa, India, South East Asia, Indonesia
and the Philippines. This is not an unknown mysterious disease.
Chikungunya virus infection can cause a debilitating illness, most
often characterized by fever, headache, fatigue, nausea,
vomiting, muscle pain, rash, and joint pain. The term
‘chikungunya’ means ‘that which bends up’ in the Kimakonde language
Acute chikungunya fever typically lasts a few days to a few weeks,
but as with dengue, West Nile fever and other arboviral fevers, some
patients have prolonged fatigue lasting several weeks. Additionally,
some patients have reported incapacitating joint pain, or arthritis
which may last for weeks or months. The prolonged joint pain
associated with chikungunya virus is not typical of dengue.
The fever can occur for a period ranging from 1 to 7 days (usually
about 5 days). Chikungunya is commonly mistaken for Dengue Fever due
their similar clinical symptoms.
The best way to prevent chikungunya virus infection is to avoid
mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or preventive drug currently
available. Prevention tips are similar to those for other viral
diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as dengue or West Nile.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon
eucalyptus, or IR3535 on exposed skin. Always follow the directions
on the package.
- Wear long sleeves and pants (ideally treat clothes with permethrin
or another repellent).
- Have secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
- Get rid of mosquito sources in your yard by emptying standing
water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet
dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in
tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty
and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
Additionally, a person with chikungunya fever should limit their
exposure to mosquito bites to avoid further spreading the infection.
The person should use repellents when outdoors exposed to mosquito
bites or stay indoors in areas with screens or under a mosquito net.
immediate medical attention from the nearest clinic or hospital if
you experience signs and symptoms of Chikungunya.
Can Chikungunya cause death?
In Malaysia, Chikungunya has never been reported as causing
haemorrhage (bleeding) or death. However, some patients experience
prolonged symptoms. Aged patients could suffer from recurrent joint
aches ranging from several months to a year.
For further information please contact:
Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC)
Disease Control Division
Ministry of Health Malaysia
Level 3, Block E10, Parcel E
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62590 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Tel: 603-8881 0600 / 8881 0700
consult a physician regarding health problems or medical conditions
Other health related articles:
Dengue Fever info,
symptoms, transmission prevention, treatment in Malaysia
Hand Foot Mouth Disease HFMD info, symptoms,
transmission, prevention, treatment in Malaysia
Bird/Avian Flu information and facts
Services in Malaysia for Expatriates
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