Summary

  • Usually a self-limiting infection characterized by fever, severe joint pain, and rash.
  • Most patients fully recover, but some develop chronic joint disease characterized by polyarthritis and systemic manifestations that may last for months or years and may resemble rheumatoid arthritis or a seronegative spondyloarthropathy.
  • Has a global distribution, thanks to a genetic change enabling the virus to be transmitted by Aedes albopictus (a more widespread Aedes vector), as well as A aegypti. Locally acquired cases have been reported in the US and Europe.
  • Diagnosis is based on clinical manifestations and epidemiologic clues. Confirmation is via serologic detection of antibodies.
  • It is important to distinguish from dengue fever and Zika virus infection, which are transmitted by the same vector. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) can be used to determine if a patient is infected with chikungunya, Zika, or dengue virus in one test. Coinfection may occur.
  • There is no specific vaccine or treatment. Avoidance of mosquito bites is the best method of prevention.

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