Chikungunya virus causes the infection. It is passed to people from the bite of an infected mosquito. It cannot be passed from one person to another.

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Risk Factors

The risk of getting the virus is highest in areas where outbreaks have happened, such as:

  • Africa
  • Southeast Asia
  • Southern Europe
  • Islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
  • Caribbean islands

In 2014, chikungunya occurred in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.



Symptoms begin 3 to 7 days after infection and may include:

  • High fever
  • Severe joint pain
  • Rash
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Red, irritated eyes


The doctor will ask about your symptoms, health, and travel history. A physical exam will be done.

Blood tests may be done. They will look for the virus and antibodies. Antibodies are substances the body creates when infected. Other blood tests may be done to look for problems.



The goal is to treat the symptoms. Hospital care may be needed if symptoms are severe. Treatment options are:

  • Rest
  • Medicines to ease symptoms, such as:
    • Acetaminophen—to control fever
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)—to control pain
    • Short-term narcotics or corticosteroids—sometimes used for severe pain


The risk of a chikungunya infection may be lowered by:

  • Avoiding travel to areas with outbreaks
  • Avoiding mosquito bites by:
    • Covering up the skin
    • Using bug sprays, netting, and screens

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.