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Information on chikungunya virus, including diagnosis, symptoms and treatment
Chikungunya is an infection in humans caused by the chikungunya virus.
The chikungunya virus is present in Africa, southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Indian Ocean islands, where a number of outbreaks have occurred.
Chikungunya virus is a notifiable condition1
Humans and other primates are the natural hosts for the chikungunya virus. The virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected female Aedes species mosquito – Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus. These are the same tropical and sub-tropical mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus. They breed in or near human habitations and prefer to feed on humans during the daytime in shady areas, but may also bite early in the night.
In Australia, Aedes aegypti currently is found in north Queensland while Aedes albopictus is found in a few locations in the Torres Strait. Infections reported in Australia are from people who have travelled overseas to regions where the chikungunya virus is present.
To date chikungunya virus infection has not been transmitted by mosquitoes in Australia. However, since the mosquitoes capable of transmitting the infection are found in northern Australia there is the potential for this to occur.
Chikungunya infection is characterised by sudden onset of:
Most people start to feel better after 7 to 10 days although some people will develop longer term joint pain.
The diagnosis is based on signs and symptoms and confirmed with a blood test.
(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
Typically 3 to 7days with a range of 1 to 12 days.
(time during which an infected person can infect others)
Chikungunya cannot be spread directly from person to person.
There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection. The use of pain medication and rest can provide relief for some of the symptoms.
1 – In South Australia the law requires doctors and laboratories to report some infections or diseases to SA Health. These infections or diseases are commonly referred to as 'notifiable conditions'.