Chikungunya Disease

Chikungunya, CHIKV, Chikungunya fever, Chikungunya virus infection, Arbovirus A Chikungunya type, CHIKV infection, CHIK, CK


Chikungunya virus is an insect-borne virus, of the genus, Alphavirus, that is transmitted to humans by virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes. There have been recent outbreaks of CHIKV associated with severe morbidity. CHIKV causes an illness with symptoms similar to dengue fever. CHIKV manifests itself with an acute febrile phase of the illness lasts only two to five days, followed by a prolonged arthralgic disease that affects the joints of the extremities. The pain associated with CHIKV infection of the joints persists for weeks or months.

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Joint pain is often debilitating and can vary in duration. The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue and zika, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where they are common.

Symptoms - Chikungunya Disease

The incubation period of Chikungunya disease is from two to four days. Symptoms of the disease include a fever up to 40 °C (104 °F), a petechial or maculopapular rash of the trunk and occasionally the limbs, and arthralgia or arthritis affecting multiple joints.[4] Other nonspecific symptoms can include headache, conjunctival infection, and slight photophobia. Typically, the fever lasts for two days and then ends abruptly. However, other symptoms, namely joint pain, intense headache, insomnia and an extreme degree of prostration last for a variable period; usually for about 5 to 7 days

Causes - Chikungunya Disease

Chikungunya virus is indigenous to tropical Africa and Asia, where it is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes, usually of the genus Aedes. Chikungunya virus belongs to alpha-vus under Toga virdae family.It is an "Arbovirus" (Ar-arthropod,bo-borne). CHIK fever epidemics are sustained by human-mosquito-human transmission. The word "chikungunya" is thought to derive from description in local dialect of the contorted posture of patients afflicted with the severe joint pain associated with this disease. The main virus reservoirs are monkeys, but other species can also be affected, including humans.

Prevention - Chikungunya Disease

The most effective means of prevention are protection against contact with the disease-carrying mosquitoes and mosquito control. These include using insect repellents with substances like DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide; also known as N,N\-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide or NNDB), icaridin (also known as picaridin and KBR3023), PMD (p-menthane-3,8-diol, a substance derived from the lemon eucalyptus tree), or IR3535. Wearing bite-proof long sleeves and trousers (pants) also offers protection. In addition, garments can be treated with pyrethroids, a class of insecticides that often has repellent properties. Vaporized pyrethroids (for example in mosquito coils) are also insect repellents. Securing screens on windows and doors will help to keep mosquitoes out of the house. In the case of the day active Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, however, this will only have a limited effect, since many contacts between the vector and the host occur outside.

Diagnosis - Chikungunya Disease

Common laboratory tests for chikungunya include RT-PCR, virus isolation, and serological tests.

  • Virus isolation provides the most definitive diganosis but takes 1-2 weeks for completion and must be carried out in Biosafety level 3 laboratories. The technique involves exposing specific cell lines to samples from whole blood and identifying chikungunya virus-specific responses.
  • RT-PCR using nested primer pairs to amplify several Chikungunya-specific genes from whole blood. Results can be determined in 1-2 days.
  • Serological diagnosis requires a larger amount of blood than the other methods and uses an ELISA assay to measure Chikungunya-specific IgM levels. Results require 2-3 days and false positives can occur with infection via other related viruses such as O'nyong'nyong virus and Semliki Forest Virus.

Prognosis - Chikungunya Disease

Recovery from the disease varies by age. Younger patients recover within 5 to 15 days; middle-aged patients recover in 1 to 2.5 months. Recovery is longer for the elderly. The severity of the disease as well as its duration is less in younger patients and pregnant women. In pregnant women, no untoward effects are noticed after the infection. Ocular inflammation from Chikungunya may present as iridocyclitis, and have retinal lesions as well.

Treatment - Chikungunya Disease

There are no specific treatments for Chikungunya. There is no vaccine currently available. A Phase II vaccine trial, sponsored by the US Government and published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 2000, used a live, attenuated virus, developing viral resistance in 98% of those tested after 28 days and 85% still showed resistance after one year.

Resources - Chikungunya Disease

Not supplied.
by Abidemi Uruejoma
Research Publications