Chikungunya fever: Signs, symptoms and what to do


Chikungunya fever, artists impression

Chikungunya fever is a viral disease transmitted via bites from infected mosquitoes. The disease has been identified in parts of Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia. At present, the Caribbean and Central America are experiencing a number of outbreaks. The illness has very similar symptoms to Dengue fever and is often misdiagnosed for this reason.

Symptoms include:

  • High temperature
  • Debilitating joint pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting

There is no vaccination for Chikungunya fever so it is vital that travellers use scientifically proven bite prevention methods in affected countries. The mosquito that carries Chikungunya is a day time biting mosquito. A mosquito repellent with a concentration of 50% DEET should be applied regularly throughout the day. Exposed skin should be covered with loose clothing where possible. If trekking through jungle or areas near stagnant water, it may be useful to buy a permethrin based solution to soak your clothes in. Permethrin will kill any bugs it comes into contact with and can be used in conjunction with repellent. You can purchase these items in our London clinics.

Treatment for Chikungunya fever generally involves managing symptoms. If you have recently travelled to a Chikungunya affected country and start experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek medical attention and inform the doctor of your recent travels.

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